Google Books

Introduction to Google Books
– Google Books is a digital library service owned by Google.
– It searches the full text of books and magazines that have been scanned and converted to text using OCR.
– Books are provided by publishers and authors through the Google Books Partner Program or by library partners through the Library Project.
– Google has also partnered with magazine publishers to digitize their archives.
– The initiative aims to offer unprecedented access to a vast online body of human knowledge.

Access Levels on Google Books
– Full view: Books in the public domain or with permission from publishers are available for full view and can be downloaded for free.
– Preview: In-print books with permission from publishers have limited viewable pages set by access restrictions and security measures.
– Snippet view: Displays two to three lines of text surrounding the search term when permission to display a preview is not granted.
– No preview: Search results for books that have not been digitized, displaying metadata and limited information about the book.
– Google introduced an opt-out policy for copyright owners to exclude their books from scanning.

Scanning Process
– The project started in 2002 under the codename Project Ocean.
– Scanning operators can now scan up to 6000 pages per hour.
– Google established designated scanning centers for the transportation of books.
– The technology has evolved significantly since the project’s inception.
– Stations digitized books at a rate of 1,000 pages per hour.
– Custom-built mechanical cradle adjusted book spine while cameras and LIDAR captured images.
– Human operator turned pages by hand, using a foot pedal to take photographs.
– De-warping algorithms used LIDAR data to fix page curvature.
– OCR software transformed raw images into text, extracting page numbers, footnotes, illustrations, and diagrams.
– Google’s system uses two cameras and infrared light to correct page curvature.
– 3D model of each page is constructed and de-warped.
– No need for destructive methods like unbinding or glass plates to flatten pages.
– Efficient scanning of large-scale collections without over-handling fragile books.
Patent awarded to Google in 2009 for this innovative scanning system.

Google Books Partner Program
– Publishers and authors can submit digital or print copies of their books to Google.
– Books are made available on Google Books for preview or full view.
– The publisher controls the percentage of the book available for preview, with a minimum of 20%.
– Books can be sold on Google Play.
– Publishers can withdraw from the agreement with Google at any time.

Criticisms and Legal Issues
– Google Books has faced criticism for potential copyright violations.
– Errors introduced by the OCR process have been a point of criticism.
– The scanning process in American academic libraries has slowed down.
– Google Books has been subject to litigation, including the Authors Guild v. Google case.
– A study found that Google Books’ digitization has led to increased sales for physical versions of books.
– Critics argue that Google’s effort on linguistic imperialism grounds.
– Disproportionate representation of natural languages in the digital world.
– German, Russian, French, and Spanish are popular languages in scholarship.
– Google Books has revolutionized research and academia by providing a vast digital library.
– Researchers can easily search and access a wealth of information from diverse sources.
– Enables cross-referencing and citation of books in academic papers.
– Facilitates interdisciplinary research by providing access to books from various fields.
– Enhances collaboration and knowledge sharing among researchers globally.Sources: