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Exploring book data at Google Book Search, Amazon & LibraryThing

Written on May 31, 2007

Google recently announced that Google Book Search has added “records for millions of other books that still just exist in the analog world,” a development that makes it a much more comprehensive book search site. Alongside the scanned books and those with limited previews there are now records for books that have not yet been digitized.

Here is an example of the kind of information Google has made available for ‘Metaphors We Live By,’ an influential 1980 cognitive science book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. A search on the exact title phrase brings up over 700 book results, showing other books that discuss or cite ‘Metaphors We Live By.’ The book page has reviews, references from web pages, references from books, references from scholarly work, description from the book cover, other editions, links to buy the book or to find it in a library.

For comparison, here is the Amazon page for the same book; among the features are the ability to “look inside the book” at about 10 pages, including the table of contents. Amazon also displays 1599 books that cite “Metaphors We Live By” (with some duplicates); and, in the section “Customers who bought this item also bought” there is a link to “Explore similar items,” which seems to do a good job of pulling out related works.

LibraryThing is another good source of book information; its page for Lakoff & Johnson includes a tag cloud, recommendations (another good source of related items), reviews, member ratings, links to Wikipedia, plus a separate “book information” page that has the traditional card catalog data – LC and Dewey call numbers, subject headings, isbns.

Until the ultimate mashup appears, I’ll want to look at all three sites.




Filed in: book search.

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  1. Pingback from my mind on books » Finding new & forthcoming books with Google Book Search:

    […] the recent addition of ‘analog’ records to Google Book Search (discussed in my last post), the Advanced Book Search can be used as a rough way to find new books, although the lack of any […]

    May 31, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

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