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Guggenheim Exhibition Catalogues, Now Digitized

Hat tip to The Spectator for the article about a digitized collection of exhibition catalogs from the Guggenheim Museum. The collection is available at http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/publications/from-the-archives.

There are over 60 catalogs here, and when you sort by date you’ll start with “Amazons of the Avant-Garde” (1999) and end up at “Art of Tomorrow: Fourty-One Reproductions from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for Non-Objective Painting” (1940). The listings contain a thumbnail of the catalogue cover, author, date of publication, and number of pages.

I clicked on the “More” listing for “Mastercraftsmen of Ancient Peru,” by Alan R. Sawyer (1968, 112 pages). I got a larger image of the cover and a brief excerpt of the book, with a “Read Catalogue Online” link. THAT took me to a Flash-based reading application. Navigation of the book at the bottom, double-click to zoom in (to read the text you will have to zoom in.) Double-click again to zoom out. When I was looking at it, it looked like the reader was on “auto-play” — so you’d be looking at some page and it would flip. You can turn that off by clicking the “pause” button on the nav bar. If you don’t want to bother with the nav bar you can also flip through the pages by clicking on page corners.

The bottom of the listing has books related to the catalogue you’re viewing as well as related essays. I’m not sure where “Aestheticism and Japan: The Cult of the Orient” intersects with ancient Peruvian crafts, but I can find out if I pay $1.99 for this 13-page ebook.

An absolute timesink. If you don’t want to do the reading on the Guggenheim site, you can download a large selection of texts — more, it seems to me, than there are at the Guggenheim site — at the Internet Archive. This includes downloading in Kindle, Daisy, and PDF format.

State of Maine Develops Database of Maine Writers

The state of Maine has announced a new database of Maine writers who lived between the 18th century and today. There are over 500 writers in the database, which is available at http://www.maine.gov/msl/maine/writers.htm.

You can do a search for authors using a variety of factors, including name, when they lived, and what they wrote, or you can just browse a full alphabetical list. 500 writers is not too much and just going through the list of names isn’t that onerous. I took a look at Clarence Mulford, who created Hopalong Cassidy.

Clarence Mulford’s page includes a brief biography, a selected bibliography, and a “selected resources” list, which points to Project Gutenberg and notes that there are two books available (there are actually four.)

I was a little surprised about that. I mean, I love Project Gutenberg, but I’m surprised it was the only resource listed for full-text books. Why not, say, Hathi Trust? Just out of curiosity I went and looked at Hathi Trust to see if it had any Mulford novels, and found ten available. On the other hand, I can’t see a way to download books from Hathi Trust, and maybe that’s why it’s not included as an external option.

Whether or not Hathi Trust is included, nice work on this database.

Emory University Makes Huge Library of “Yellowbacks” Available for Download

Another one that’s been sitting in the queue for a while. Emory University announced a few months ago a new digital book collection from Emory University Libraries’ Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL).

The books are called “yellowbacks,” 19th-century British literature. I guess 19th century pulp fiction or penny dreadfuls? Anyway, there are about 1200 books available. Unfortunately the announcement did not refer to a standalone Web site for these items (why not?) Instead you have to search the Emory Libraries’ Web site for “yellowbacks” and go from there. You can get that search narrowed down to book results here. (The URL is ridiculously long.) I didn’t recognize most of these authors but I did see six books by Victor Hugo and seven titles by Benjamin Disraeli.

When you see a book you like (and you’re going to be looking a while — I didn’t see summaries for ANYTHING) click on a title. You’ll get a detail page that gives you information on copyright and links to the book in Google Books and Worldcat. You’ll also have the option to save the book to one of several different organization tools, and of course you have the option to download the book as a PDF.

I had some trouble with that. Repeated attempts to download The Cloud King using Chrome failed. I was able to do the download with Firefox, though, so I don’t know what that’s about.

With no standalone Web site and no summaries, you’ll be poking around a bit in this collection of books. On the other hand, I found myself fascinated with The Cloud King and I’m planning to send it to my Kindle. I’m sure there’s a lot of great material to read here; it’s just going to take a little digging to find it.

Large Database of Children’s Books Now Available

The University of Arizona has put online a database of its collection of non-US children’s books — the world’s largest collection. The database, which contains information on more than 30,000 books, is called The World of Words: International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature. It’s available at http://wowlit.org/.

You can do a simple keyword search (an advanced search allows you to query by a number of other factors, including ISBN, author, illustrator, and translator) or you can browse by region, age, or genre.

I took a look at children’s books from the Caribbean. I didn’t get a count of results but they were ten to the page and there were 81 pages of results. Each result includes a picture of the cover and a brief summary of the book and metadata like page count, ISBN, author and illustrator, and theme. There’s a permalink for you and a form for a comment, though I didn’t see any entries with comments.

The site will continue to be updated, and you’ll find additional information about children’s books and the creative factors behind them at the site blog. I actually found several of the YA books that looked like good reads. How about a direct link to a WorldCat ISBN search?

More Books for the Visually Impaired

Three cheers for the Internet Archive, which announced yesterday a new resource for the visually impaired (or as the IA called them, the “print disabled,” which I guess includes dyslexic people). These books are available at the newly redesigned Open Library, available at http://openlibrary.org/. What’s the Open Library? Here’s the first sentence from the About page: “One web page for every book ever published. It’s a lofty, but achievable, goal. ” Hey, I’m down with that! But let’s talk about the new collection for print disabled folks.

The library for the print disabled is available at http://openlibrary.org/subjects/accessible_book. Where is that count of a million coming from? On this home page I’m seeing a count of 393,792. Anyway, you’ll find a keyword search, subject listings, places and people, times, and a list of prominent authors and prominent publishers. The books accessible to the print disabled are scanned from hard copy books then digitized into a format called DAISY, a standard for digital talking books. (You can learn more about DAISY at http://www.daisy.org/.) Books that are out of copyright are accessible via unencrypted DAISY format, while in-copyright books are available in encrypted DAISY and require an NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) key to access. You can get a list of “Protected DAISY” titles at http://openlibrary.org/subjects/protected_daisy. There are 410 at this writing.

Let’s find an unprotected DAISY book. At the Accessible Book collection page, I did a search for Ruggles of Red Gap and found it at http://openlibrary.org/works/OL5714160W/Ruggles_of_Red_Gap. (If you’re looking for something funny and odd, I recommend it, though I admit I spent about half the book wanting to smack Ruggles.) The site lists 15 editions, three of which are available in any kind of format.

As you can see, you have the option to read the book online (if you’ve ever used Internet Archive’s book browsing function, you’ll have no trouble; this is the same thing). You also have the option to get the book in PDF, plain text, ePub, Kindle, or DAISY format. For information on how DAISY works and hardware and software options for it, see http://www.daisy.org/tools-services. There’s a cross-platform DAISY reader (Mac, Windows, Linux) over on Google Code. It’s called Emerson.

Though this Open Library relaunch was put in the context of more books being available for print disabled folks (and I agree that’s very important) I found it also the case that there’s plenty of material here for the non-print disabled. I find the layout of book search easier and friendlier than the regular Internet Archive, though there’s also plenty on the IA that you won’t find here (like the huge collection of ancient yearbooks, for example.)

Absolutely worth a look!

Internet Archive Hits Two Million Books

A big congratulations to The Internet Archive, which announced yesterday that it has hit two million free digital texts. The 2 millionth text, if you’re wondering, is Homiliary on Gospels from Easter to first Sunday of Advent, which is a thousand-year-old book, handwritten in Latin.

I don’t mind that it’s a thousand years old but I don’t think I’ll get past the Latin. If you’re looking for other books to explore, check out the Internet Archive Ebooks and Texts section at http://www.archive.org/details/texts. (Actually that section says it has 2.2+ million texts. I wonder where the others came from? Anyway.) The books here are divided into several sections, including books from American libraries (the largest section with 1.2 million texts), books from Canadian libraries, Open Source books, Project Gutenberg, and Children’s Library. If you want to browse check the nav on the right for the most popular downloads of all time, the most popular downloads of this week, and Editor’s Picks.

You can do keyword searches, too. If you want to do anything beyond a simple keyword search I recommend you go straight to
the advanced search page; there are so many fields available to search that it’s hard to remember them all. The advanced search is easier.

If you can’t think of anything to search for let me recommend a few fun ones. Try Joe Worker and the Story of Labor (it’s a comic!) or Punch (one of several volumes the IA has available) or, if you’re looking for a little Timothy Leary and Stewart Brand, how about a copy of Psychedelic
Review from 1967
?

You’ve probably gotten the idea; The Internet Archive’s texts selection is huge and eclectic, and with over two million items now available you’ll have no trouble finding something of interest.

Find Open Educational Resources and More

Hey! This looks pretty handy. The Open Educational Resources Center for California has a pretty unusual URL — http://grou.ps/oercenter/ — but a nice collection of resources that goes into open source education and a little beyond.

The front of this site has a great left nav that leads you to seven different resources for finding open textbooks, four each for open educational resources and open courseware, five resources for open media, and two resources for open quizzes. The front page also has some information on the open education movement and links to additional resources. Looking for something more specific? You can get category links to over 400 open textbooks here.

While you’re at the site, check out the Five Steps to Open Textbook Adoption and the goals of the OER Center for California. It’s a little sad; there’s a forum here but nobody’s participating in it, and the site itself feels a bit empty. Maybe take the ebook resources and turn them into a custom search engine?

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