Google Books Tips and Tricks?
July 2, 2009 1:52 PM   Subscribe

What are some interesting, weird, rare or unexpected finds that you've found on google books? In searches, I sometimes stumble on journals and other obscure publications that I never would have even THOUGHT to search for. I imagine there are lots of useful or interesting resources that most people wouldn't know are there, and they're adding more all the time. Also, are there particular search patterns that you find give you more useful results?
posted by empath to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Type Specimen books are kind of fun to look at. Types of the De Vinne Press
posted by sciencegeek at 1:57 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

Also, I think in general people don't think to search for books with illustrations, and many are scanned in full color.
posted by empath at 2:45 PM on July 2, 2009

Old law books which discuss interesting topics (like constitutional law) from the perspective of life several decades ago.
posted by megatherium at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2009

I like surfing Etsy for vintage furniture. The information sellers provide is often lacking or just completely wrong. That's when I go to Google Books for more information and pictures, like details on a 1935 Auke Komter easy chair.

I can't tell you how many times I see vintage items that are (clears throat) "so vintage they were made before they were made!"

I also like searching for rare dictionaries.
posted by foooooogasm at 3:38 PM on July 2, 2009

There are some wonderful children's books, some with lovely illustrations.
posted by bubukaba at 3:38 PM on July 2, 2009

Just this afternoon, while searching for something related to Marie Antoinette, I stumbled upon The Female Thermometer: 18th Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny by Terry Castle.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 3:46 PM on July 2, 2009

Almost the entire run of the Weekly World News, via the blue. So very very awesome.

Also, there's a greasemonkey thing that lets you download jpgs of individual pages, so your fridge can once again boast great covers and headlines.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:07 PM on July 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates by the Rand Corp.
posted by at at 5:22 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not Google but browsing through the The Internet Archive's Text Archive, I found Zeppelin; the story of a great achievement. I don't care about the text (it was a puff piece to try and get investors), but every other page has photos and illustrations that I find fascinating.
posted by fings at 7:21 PM on July 2, 2009

Slightly OT - This article about new features on Google Books might be of interest (esp the bottom bit which links to other related articles)
posted by Dub at 7:54 PM on July 2, 2009

The thumbnail view feature in particular is killer, especially if you're looking at a book with lots of images (re: Dub, new features).
posted by foooooogasm at 8:09 PM on July 2, 2009

I know it doesn't answer your question but I was shocked to once find MYSELF there.

I had translated an essay from French to English for a big museum show in Paris and, lo and behold, the translation was there (and not the French original).
posted by holdenjordahl at 9:47 PM on July 2, 2009

I took a class earlier this year on Early anglo-American Sacred Music, and was delighted to find a lot of Shape Note and other early music tunebooks (but unfortunately not the Big Guy, the Sacred Harp).

From the Southern Harmony, compiled by William Walker, here is the first pairing of the familiar words of amazing Grace to it's ubiquitous tune, then called "New Britain." (Note: the tune is in the middle line.)

And one of my personal favorite hymns, which is not a shape note tune but was written in response to shape note's "musical chaos": the first appearance of How Can I Keep From Singing by Robert Lowry, in "Bright Jewels for the sunday School," compiled by William Bradbury.
posted by sarahnade at 11:33 PM on July 3, 2009

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