I’ve known for a while that Google was working on a project of making digital facsimiles of books. I have one of them posted in my Silk Library. What I didn’t know, is how MANY books they have now – it’s a HUGE collection. For those of us who are looking at “lost arts” type work, it’s a gold mine. Books from the 1700’s, the 1800’s, and much of the 1900’s, scanned with illustrations, and they’re SEARCHABLE. You can see huge swaths of many books still in print – and if you choose “Full View” in your search options, you can get full, untrimmed scans of books out of copyright. You can switch to a plaintext view, and see the text in Arial font (granted, it DOES occasionally have difficulty with some of the books that have odd type, and you’ll occasionally see “hom” instead of “horn,” and other such OCR type errors) and you can copy and paste passages.
I’ve been searching on various terms related to silk and sericulture, the history of silk, silk industry, etc… and so far I’ve got seventy books corralled into My Library, which has a fixed address that I can go link to, and share with friends. Some of the books are hard-to-find classics about silk, like Dandolo’s “The Art of Rearing Silk Worms” from 1825, or William Kenrick’s “American Silk Grower’s Guide” – some are references in history books, agriculture reports, etc. Need to know how many pounds of silk were raised in 1890 in Missouri? Check the “Report of the Secretary of Agriculture” (page 273). The US cocoon crop for 1890 was over sixteen thousand pounds. Who knew?
I need to go through and put in “reviews” on them, so that I can remember why I chose each book, as well as noting books that have especially interesting bits, which ones are accurate or fanciful, etc.
You can also DOWNLOAD the PDF files, if you want to have the whole thing with you.
It’s just amazing.