Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Google Books Adds Download Feature Making Local History Research Even Easier

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On a number of occasions, I have blogged about using Google Books (formerly Google Print) to conduct local history research. For examples of such postings, see:

Wed. September 7, 2005: Using Google Print to Further Your Local History Research

Fri. November 4, 2005: Google Print Adds Many Publi Domain Books of Interest to Local Historians to its Virtual Library

Thu. March 6, 2006: Google Books Continues Addition of Content With Much More Now Available on the History of Pelham, NY

On Thursday, August 31, Google Books added an important feature that makes it even easier for researchers and local historians to perform their work. For books that are in the public domain (i.e., no longer copyright protected), Google Books offers a new download feature that permits a researcher to download complete copies of such books to their hard drives.

Now, when Google Book search results return an item in the public domain, there is in the right column of the page a "Download" button beneath the title of the book with an indication of the size of the file. The download format is PDF.

The image below is a screen shot of one such search result. I have added a red arrow pointing to the download button that allows the visitor to download an entire copy of the book.

Interestingly, once the PDF is downloaded to your computer, it is not searchable. The PDF does not contain the embedded OCR (optical character recognition) data, likely due to the increased file size that such data will cause. Consequently, those who wish to store a searchable copy of such books on their hard drives will need to use full Adobe software (Adobe Professional) to run a "character analysis" (i.e., to generate the embedded OCR data that makes the entire file searchable). This is a slow process and creates a larger file.

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