Google Books has ten years of Maximum PC online for your enjoyment and occasional chuckles. [more inside]
Randall Munroe observed a while ago: "In months other than September, the 11th is mentioned substantially less often than any other date. It’s been that way since long before 9/11 and I have no idea why.” David Hagen investigates. (The real culprit? A trend in font design from the late 1800s.)
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [more inside]
Measuring societal zeitgeist by counting mood words across millions of books correlates with the economic misery index shifted forward a decade. "When are we most miserable, according to literature? Ten to eleven years after an economic downturn." Paper: Books Average Previous Decade of Economic Misery.
The School of Venus, or the Ladies Delight, Reduced into Rules of Practice (digitized by Google Books) is a delightfully raunchy sex manual from 1680, captured in wonderfully engaging detail. [more inside]
Here's a stunning gallery of failures and book oddities in Google Books. You can see camera-sensor moire, content detection algorithm failures, condom-covered fingers, failed dewarping, "dewarped" images, failed dithering, pages blurred by turning, and the scanning environment itself, with binder clips to hold book covers and checked rules for absolute scale. My personal favorite: A shot showing the Google page-turning mechanism (employed when they're not using a guillotine and ADF/sheet-feeder). A project by Kristina Wilson.
Only weeks after Judge Denny Chin extended the filing deadline, and presumably a final decision, and reflecting the Department of Justice’s own opinion, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the landmark class-action lawsuit settlement between the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google. And offers some advice for a revised resubmission.
Founded in 1985, the first year of Spin Magazine spilled ink on all sorts of great American fringe music. Swans, Sonic Youth, Jandek, Glenn Branca, Hüsker Dü, and Squirrel Bait. The magazine's entire run is available on Google Books. [more inside]
"I am not going to rehearse any arguments pro and anti the “Google settlement.” You decided to deal with the devil, as it were, and have presented your arguments for doing so. I wish I could accept them. I can’t. There are principles involved, above all the whole concept of copyright; and these you have seen fit to abandon to a corporation, on their terms, without a struggle." - Ursula Le Guin resigns from the Authors Guild over the Google Book deal. (Previously)
The Life and Times of Major Jack Downing of Downingville, away down east in the state of Maine, written by himself. [more inside]
Already hosting the LIFE Photo Archive (previously), Google today announces that it has "partnered with Life Inc. to digitize LIFE Magazine's entire run as a weekly: over 1,860 issues, covering the years from 1936 to 1972."
“We believe this is a revolution...Content retrieval is now centralized and production is decentralized.”
Google makes public domain books available for instant custom printing. Show up anywhere that has one of the book printing machines. Select one of the millions of public domain titles in Google Books digital library. Pay around the price of a mass market paperback. The machine then prints a copy of your desired book* in a few minutes, as demonstrated in this lovingly narrated video. [more inside]
In keeping with its mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," Google Books presents every issue of Weekly World News from 1981 to 2007. previously via
Public Domain Books Reprints Service is "an experimental non-commercial project to re-print public domain books". It's the first service I have seen that allows simple affordable one-off point and click facsimile paperback replication of any book at Google Books or Internet Archive (millions of books). Curious how it works? Each book includes the technical details (Perl+Ghostscript+DJVU+XLST+etc..). The "experiment" has been running since November and is created by Yakov Shafranovich, a Russian Jewish immigrant in Baltimore of many talents.
Google Books has an interesting new feature called "Popular Passages" which shows how many future books have quoted passages from the present book - it's billed as a way to follow literary memes but would be equally helpful in sleuthing for old literary crimes. They've also added "Share and Enjoy" for clipping quotes from public domain books into a blog or notebook.