November 17, 2017

InfoTech: Google Allows Book Embedding

By Josh Hadro

  • Embedded book previews will immediately begin appearing on book retailer and publisher sites as well as in library catalogs
  • Google and its partners hope to make the contents of GBS significantly more attractive to bloggers and librarians

On September 22, Google made it possible to embed a preview of Book Search texts directly into any web page. Based on the same technology found on the Google Book Search (GBS) site itself, embedded book previews will immediately begin appearing on book retailer and publisher sites like Books-a-Million, O’Reilly, and Macmillan, as well as in library catalogs like those at the University of California and the University of Texas. WorldCat.org will feature an icon for a pop-up Google Preview of certain texts as well.

Static images and text snippets of public domain books in GBS were actually embeddable prior to this announcement, though this little-known feature went mostly unused. With the newly revealed increase in functionality and standardization via Google APIs, Google and its partners hope to make the contents of GBS significantly more attractive to bloggers and librarians, and easier to adapt to their purposes.

“The Google Book Search APIs represent an important advance in accessing the content scanned on behalf of libraries participating in the Google Book Search Library Project. Working together enables us to increase the presence of these libraries and their collections on the web,” said Bill Carney, content manager for OCLC.

Embedded previews of books still bound by copyright are browsable for up to 20 percent of their content, while books in the public domain are viewable in their entirety. In both cases, embedded texts are searchable just as they are from within the regular Google Books interface, though using the embedded search function returns only results for the 20 percent of pages viewable by the user. In contrast, the standard GBS results list all occurrences of a search term in copyrighted texts, along with their page numbers, even if those pages are not viewable.

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