Google Books’ (GB) full-text search of more than 40 million books offers significant value for libraries and their patrons. However, Google’s refusal to disclose information about the coverage of GB, as well as observed gaps and inaccuracies in the collection and its metadata, makes it difficult to recommend with confidence for a given research need. While most search and retrieval functions work well, glitches aren’t hard to find, which suggests GB development is focused on user experiences that relate to monetization. Privacy and equity concerns surrounding GB mirror those of other big technology platforms. Still, every librarian should familiarize themselves with GB’s utility for their work because of the tool’s visibility and because it can fill several otherwise unmet needs. Searching within such a large corpus of full-text is a boon for most topics, and the high quality of some of GB’s primary source and public domain images may be a goldmine for historical and genealogy researchers.
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Fagan, Jody Condit, "Google Books" (2021). Libraries. 201.
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