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Google Books

About Google Books

What is it?

  • Google, using library partners, undertook the massive project of digitizing all the books in the world and making them available online to everyone online. 
  • As of 2015 more than 25 million books have been scanned and are searchable through the website.
  • The search engine is search across them all, so it is usually best to use the ADVANCED SEARCH feature to search with more precision.
  • Books out of copyright are usually available for download and/or viewing
  • Copyrighted books allow limited view. 
  • If you discover a limited view and what the whole or part of that book, 
    • Check the A-Z ebook gateway or WorldCat Local Catalog to see if we own the book electronically. if we have that book in electronic format or use WorldCat Local
    • If not,  order the book or chapter through our WE DELIVER Document Delivery Service.
  • Since the project began, Google Books has been subjected to continuous challenges to its claim to Fair Use.    A recent ruling [October 2015] has ruled for Google.  Follow these cases at the Stanford University Libraries Copyright & Fair Use Center at Stanford University Libraries. 
  • While this extraordinary project may be the largest assemblage of books online, there are other similar projects worldwide.  See below. 

When to Use Google Books: Google Books should not be your first stop. We have many stronger resources to identify books, including WorldCat local. A strength of Google Books is that you can search the full text across so many books. However, the number of returns can be a weakness.  Unique phrases and words are more successfully searched in Google books. Google Books is also useful for previewing books, especially for reviewing the table of contents.