DjVu Google Books is full of surprises!  In surveying medical journals in Google Books, I discovered that volumes of British Medical Journal circa 1880 scanned at Harvard have extensive sections devoted to advertisements. Most libraries, when they bind issues of journals and magazines into bound volumes, very reasonably remove pages that have only advertisements, to save space on the shelf. So it’s good to have a Harvard, that can afford to save the rare gems of 19th century ads, so that they can be put online for the world to enjoy!

As fanciful at the ad shown here is (“Ask for Cadbury’s Pure Cocoa, makers to the Queen”), there is a wealth of more prosaic ads in the same volume, awaiting future medical historians, on subjects such as malted infant food, lactopeptine for indigestion, bronchitis & croup kettles, and state-of-the-art wheelchairs.

I found several other journals in Google Books from the same late-19th-century era, that also have extensive ads. But British Medical Journal is the only one I found that has entire, separate volumes of advertising. Apparently there must have been separate supplements that were only ads (this was in the dawn of the age of mass advertising, and people, even including physicians, were actually GLAD to read ads!)

So, how searchable are the ads in Google Books? I tried a few examples and had mixed results — Searching for this phrase that’s in the Cadbury’s ad — “why does my doctor recommend Cadbury’s Cocoa” — was successful. But searching for a phrase in the ad that follows the Cadbury’s ad, for Anodyne Amyl Colloid — “in cases of neuralgia, sciatica, lumbago” — found the phrase in other ads for the same product, but not the one occurring in this instance.

Here are volumes of British Medical Journal that I found that are exclusively advertising (All of these were scanned at Harvard):

The list presented here has FULL VIEW (public domain, pre-1923) journals in Google Books. This is certainly NOT intended to be a complete list! There’s no easy way that I have found to limit a search in Google Books to journals, so I have found these titles by searching for appropriate words such as medical, dermatology, journal, archive, transactions. I have not included titles that have less than 5 volumes in Google Books. Unfortunately, there’s no way that I have found to sort the title searches chronologically, so to find a particular volume, it’s necessary to go through the results list. Each entry in the list below has links to the first and last volumes that I have found for each title; these dates are not necessarily inclusive. For “contributing libraries,” examples are given if there is more than one contributing library.

This list grew a lot longer than I thought it would — I was surprised to find so many journals in Google Books! It was a tedious job compiling this, and I probably won’t try to keep it current, with new volumes being added all the time. If I get feedback :-) I’m more likely to put in more work on it, so please add a comment, or mail me at: eric[hyphen]rumsey AT uiowa[dot]edu

Until now, books with pictures, especially color pictures, have been a relatively small part of Google Books. But the addition of highly visual, popular magazines changes this — The titles added so far are filled with pictures!

On one level, more pictures in Google Books is gratifying — a theme of this blog! But the navigation/search capabilities for finding these pictures is limited. The best way seems to be to use Advanced Search and limit the search to Magazines. But the results listing for this is text-only. It would be much easier to search for pictures with the sort of thumbnail search results interface that’s used in Google Image Search.

In light of the launching of picture-laden magazines as part of Google Books, it’s interesting to note that only last month, Google launched Life magazine pictures, as part of Google Image Search. Google is facing the same choice that librarians have been considering for the last while — Should books (or magazines) that have many pictures be considered mainly as books that happen to have pictures, or as pictures that happen to be in books?

The pictures & links below are from magazines that are in Google Books. I’ve chosen them because I know from work on Hardin MD that they are on highly-searched subjects, which would likely appear in Google Image Search if they were crawlable.

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Google Books - Magazines

When I started this list in Dec, 2008, Google did not provide a list of their own — Thankfully, they provided one in Nov, 2009 (their announcement is Here, their list is Here). Assuming they keep up their list, I will probably not add to the list provided here. Comparing their list with mine now (11/12/09), they have everything on my list except one title (Log home living). Good start, Google, Hope you keep it up :-)

Please note: the dates given for titles is not necessarily inclusive! Some are quite spotty.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey