Interesting post over at Google’s Inside Google Book Search blog, The Bodleian’s treasures, available to all, about ‘the other place’. Google has now completed its first phase of digitizing ‘many hundreds of thousands’ of public domain books from the Bodleian and other Oxford University libraries. Oxford was the first European insitution to become involved in the Google library book digitizing programme. There are now around 20 institutions involved. There is a separate Google digitization project in partnership with book publishers.
Google’s ultimate aim is to digitize most of the books that have ever been published. All out of copyright works are available in full text via Google Book Search, with ‘snippets’ of copyright works. An earlier post in their blog says:
When searching on our homepage, http://books.google.com, you are directly searching the text of over 7 million books. For searches on Google.com, we will blend books into search results when we think it fits the query. In fact, this blending of results in Google.com is the largest driver of book views and traffic [5 March 2009].
There are many other sources of books online. Of course, we now have our own rapidly expanding ebooks@cambridge and there are many other digital library projects. A good search engine for public domain works is the Digital Book Index.