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Discovering what Books are Out There

Discovering what Books are Out There

One of the real pleasures I had when making my “publisher (book) series” e-library was discovering what books are “out there.” I would start with a google query, to give me a list of publishers in a particular field, e.g. computer science. I would then list these publishers (institution, trade, university) on my website. The second step was to go to the website of these publishers and get their topic categories, and list them per publisher. Then I would make a list of the titles and authors of the books in each topic, followed by using to get a link to each book and paste it into my site. Most of these books had the “Look Inside” feature provided by  Once these links were up, I was able to look inside about 10% of the book and get a feel for what the book was about. Doing this for thousands of books, gave me a feel for what books are “out there” on a given topic.

Once these links were up, not only could I look into these books in a systematic manner, but so now can the world. Once I have put up these amazon “look inside” links, I will then systematically try to find google “full text” links to them, that allow users to read the full text (the full content) of the book. This is a tediously slow process. So far I’ve been finding full text links to about a third to a half of the books, which is enough to allow students to learn a subject, because I often put up 100s of books on a topic. Often I will not find a full text link to a book, but do find full text links to books which are very close to it in content, which are almost as useful to the student as the book that is not full text linked.

Since I give a fairly comprehensive list of publishers, one comes away with a fairly good idea of what books are out there. It is a real delight for a bibliophile, to go through these links and look at the books. Time and time again, I come across a juicy looking title – “Oooh, that looks interesting!” – and I open it up with the amazon link, to see the cover, and look inside, using the “Look Inside” feature to see 10% of the book. If the book is really juicy and worth studying fully, then if it has a full text link provided by google, I can read it totally on my large screen. I have a 28″ 4K monitor for reading books. I also have a Sony “DP” (Digital Paper) e-ink e-reader, of A4 paper size and very light, so I can easily drag and drop a book file (.pdf) from my e-libraries on my desktop to the DP for sustained reading and studying, i.e. real scholartech, a scholar’s dream.

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