Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2005 Issue

All Books and All Knowledge: Coming Soon to <i>Your</i> Computer

Booksabout

A Google search for "books about" Gerrit Smith reveals three books (next to books image) where his name appears.


By Michael Stillman

It had to happen. It may have suddenly dawned on you one day, like a light bulb above a cartoon's character's head, when you were searching the web. Someday, all knowledge, all information, every book will be available to you right there in your home via the internet. That day may yet be off on the horizon, but it now seems to be just a matter of time.

This may be a slight exaggeration, and we are certainly not there yet, but for those whose specialty is books and the knowledge they possess, an announcement last month took us one giant step closer to that day.

From my perspective, it looks like there are two 800-pound gorillas battling to determine who will provide (and control?) the world's knowledge. Those combatants go by the names of Microsoft and Google. Score one for Google. If there is one entity standing in the way of Microsoft controlling the world (again a slight exaggeration), it is Google. Today, Google has thrown open the door to the vast world of information locked behind the covers of books, and none of us, you, me, libraries, educational institutions, will ever be the same. However, as we will see, this flood of information may be too great for even the likes of Google and Microsoft to control. It's time to take a look inside.

Google threw open the door with its announcement of the expansion of "Google Print." Google Print is the process by which Google is making the vast amount of knowledge contained within books available to the public. "Google's mission," they state, "is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." You don't get much more ambitious than that. Here is what they're doing specifically with regard to books. They are creating digital copies of the full text of vast collections of books and making them available to you online. If they could, they would probably offer every book in the world to you free of charge. However, copyright laws prevent that, so we need to break their offerings down between those which are copyrighted and those which are not (primarily old material whose copyrights have expired).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
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  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>

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