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?

Cornell Announces Classical Works Knowledge Base

Cornell is one of my favorite universities, did you know that? Here’s one reason why: early this week it announced the Classical Works Knowledge Base (CWKB), a relational database to link citations of ancient texts to online versions of those texts (Ancient in this case is about eight century BC to mid-eighth century AD.) From Cornell’s announcement: “CWKB works by parsing OpenURL links (commonly used in libraries to help patrons retrieve scholarly articles) once a citation has been clicked on. OpenURL metadata is sent to the link resolver, which ‘creates several links — because you can have several versions for the same citation, in the original language and in translation,’ Rebillard said.”

The fully-functional version of CWKB will be available in about two years, but there’s a working prototype at http://cwkb.org/. There are two examples of how the database would work, a link to project description and summary (both PDFs) and a link to a blog.

Robert Louis Stevenson Web Site Launched

Treasure Island and a lot more! A new site dedicated to Robert Louis Stevenson has been launched at http://www.robert-louis-stevenson.org/. The site was put together by a variety of people and institutions, including Edinburgh Napier University, Professor Richard Dury, the City of Literature, and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

The site is divided into several sections, including works (yes, including Treasure Island, and every one I looked at had the entire work available for reading), biography (extensive!), photography gallery (from age four to his death, funeral, and tomb), student resources, a journal devoted to RLS studies, and even a community for those interested in RLS.

Don’t miss the “More” section on the navigation bar, which will point you to more information on RLS, including museums, libraries, a link list, an extensive list of critical works, and a list of derivative works (man, look at all the comic books and graphic novels!)

This is one of the most dense single-author sites I’ve ever seen; check out the sitemap and you’ll see what I mean. Lots of great information and resources here. And to top it all off: an RSS feed! Great stuff.