Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Google Print Revolution

From time to time, I have blogged on the growth of Google Print (e.g. Print Google Search on 23 September 2004). Today, prompted by an entry on Google Weblog, I took another visit, and in the several months since my last visit, there has been a dramatic change. I really mean dramatic -- I was quite taken aback by the riches that was turning up. But don't use the link in the blog entry I've just mentioned -- that no longer works. This is what to do:

Google Print Search

And of course then add your own search term. Since my last visit, Google seems to have got hold of piles of useful books in our area. Generous publishers seem to include Cambridge University Press, Paulist, Eerdmans and Routledge. I did not spot any T & T Clark International material, so perhaps that's something for them to work on.

The way that it works is that punters are encouraged to buy the books that are being made available to them so the left of the screen features lots of relevant buying details on the books in question. If you have ever tried searching inside the books in, you will be familiar with the limitations, e.g. on Google Print too you can rarely go more than three pages in either direction from the page your search has landed you on, though of course you can then simply conduct a fresh search. From time to time, publishers appear to have left key pages blank too to keep you wanting the original version.

I am writing a paper on the moment called "The Rock on Rocky Ground: How Matthew Read Mark's Characterization of Peter" and I was quite taken aback by the number of useful resources I dug out in a two-hour session on Google Print. For example, one of the key things for my paper is Matthew's use of the terms σκάνδαλον, σκανδαλίζω in his portrait of Peter and a search on these turned up all sorts of useful things that I might not have gone straight to in a library, as well as things I would have looked at but would have had to wait until I got to the library, e.g. Stälin's article in TDNT. The research life is going to get a lot easier with this resource, and given the rate of progress at Google in digitizing volumes since I last blogged on this, the future looks bright.

Update (11.24): On RogueClassicism, David Meadows suggests that we curb our enthusiasm a little. I accept David's points that we should not go too far and make over-the-top claims about it, but what impressed me is how much has happened in just the last few months since I had previously blogged on it, and how much useful research I was able to do. I suppose that I am familiar with manipulating the "search inside" facility and Google Print is easier to work with than that. As long as you don't expect Google Print to be comprehensive, you will find a lot of material of interest for your research.

Update (Friday, 10.16): Torrey Seland comments.

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