Google Books as a General Research Collection

Edgar Jones


The current study attempts to measure the extent to which “full view” volumes contained in Google Books constitute a viable generic research collection for works in the public domain, using as a reference collection the catalog of a major nineteenth-century research library and using as control collections—against which the reference catalog also would be searched—the online catalogs of two other major research libraries: one that was actively collecting during the same period and one that began actively collecting at a later date. A random sample of 398 entries was drawn from the Catalogue of the Library of the Boston Athenæum, 1807–1871, and searched against Google Books and the online catalogs of the two control collections to determine whether Google Books constituted such a viable general research collection.

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