A month ago, Google announced that it has begun putting magazines in Google Books. In one way, this is a new direction for Google. But looked at broadly, it’s really not so new — Google has been putting old journals in Google Books for a long time. The basic difference between the newly announced “Google magazines” and Google’s “old journals,” of course, is the date of publication — The titles that are being treated as “magazines” are generally published in the last 50 years or so. But some of these also include much older issues, in some cases, such as Popular Science, going back to the 1800′s. A bit of digging — searching for words in an article — finds a nice case of a title that’s in Google Books both ways, as a magazine and as an old journal. Snippets from the “About this book” and “About this magazine” pages below show differences.
Old journals – The journal / book format
Old journals are given the same treatment as books, with each volume of the journal being considered a book. The record here is for volume 26 of Popular Science Monthly (the old name of Popular Science).
Old journals are scanned into Google Books by libraries, in the case shown here, Harvard University. As with other books scanned by libraries, the About page has a selection of thumbnail images, giving an idea of what sort of graphics are in the book. Also note the button to Download the entire volume in PDF format.
The Magazine format
In contrast to journal/book format, in which the volume (made up of several issues) is treated as the basic record unit, in magazines, the basic record unit is the issue. This record is for the Feb 1885 issue of Popular Science.
Comparing this with the journal/book format, this lacks thumbnail preview images and it also does not support downloading a PDF of the issue. It does, however, have the great advantage over the journal/book format, that all issues are connected in the Browse all issues menu.
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.
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.
- The Alcade (Univ Texas alumni magazine), Jan 1960 – Sep-Oct 2008
- American cowboy, May 1994- Aug 2008
- American Motorcyclist, Feb 1955 – July 2005
- American Woodworker, Jan 1989 – Dec 1999
- Ancestry, 2004-2009
- Arts and Crafts Homes, Spring 2006 – Winter 2009
- Atlanta magazine, Jan 2003 – Aug 2008
- Backpacker, Spring 1973 – Dec 2004
- Baseball digest, July, 1945 – Oct 2007
- Best life, Dec 2005 – Nov 2008
- Better nutrition, Jan 1999 – Dec 2004
- Bicycling, Jan 2006 – Dec 2008
- Billboard, Jan 1942 – Nov 2008
- Black Belt, 1962 – 2004
- Black Enterprise, Jan 1984 – Nov 2000
- Black World/Negro Digest, Nov 1961 – Apr 1976
- Boys’ Life, Jan 1990 – Dec 2005
- Building systems, Jan 2000 – July 2003
- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Dec 1945 – Nov 1998
- Cell phone handbook, Summer 2007 (issue of Mac Life)
- CIO, 1987 – 2001
- Cincinnati magazine, 1971 – 2000
- Cincinnati Wedding, 2001-2008
- CMJ New Music Monthly, Dec 1994 – Jan-Feb 2008
- Collectors Guide, 1994 – 2008
- Competition Science Vision (India), March 1998 – Dec 2008
- The Crisis, 1911-2009
- Cruise travel, Jan 1980 – Dec 2007
- DieCastX Magazine, Winter 2005-Spring 2009
- Dwell, Oct 2000 – Dec 2008
- Early homes, Winter 2007 – Summer 2008
- Ebony, Mar 1962 – Nov 2008
- Ebony Jr, May 1973 – Oct 1985
- ELLEgirl, Autumn 2001-Jan 2007
- Exquisite Weddings, Autumn-Winter 2007 – Spring-Summer 2009
- GameAxis Unwired, Aug 2004-Dec 2008
- Guitar World, Jan 2007-Feb 2009
- HWM (Hardware magazine), 2001-2008
- Handcrafted Homes, 1985-2004
- Indianapolis monthly, 1995 – 2008
- InfoWorld (called Intelligent Machines Journal until Feb 1980), Dec 11, 1978 – Mar 26, 2007
- iPod Handbook (Mac Life Winter 2008)
- Jazz Times, Oct 1994 – Mar 2004
- Jet, Nov 1951 – Oct 20, 2008
- Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, 1947-2007
- Liberty Magazine, 1971 – 1976
- Life Magazine, 1936 – 1972
- Log home designs, Winter 1994 – Dec 2004
- Log home living, Dec 1989 – Feb 2004
- Los Angeles Magazine, Jan 1996 – Feb 2006
- Mac Life, Summmer 2007 – Nov 2008
- Maximum PC, Oct 1998 – Dec 2008
- Mobiles (French language), Apr-May 1997 – Oct 2008
- Mother Jones, 1976 – Jan 2000
- Men’s health, Jan 2006 – Oct 2008
- Mountain bike, Apr 2006 – Nov 2008
- National Parks, 2004-2008
- Network World, 1986-2003
- New York magazine, Apr 29, 1968 – Dec 22, 1997
- Old House Interiors, Summer 1994 – Jun-Jul 2009
- Orange Coast Magazine, 1979-2008
- Organic gardening, Dec 2005 – Nov 2008
- Outlook (India), Oct 18, 1995, Jan 14, 2008 – Dec 29, 2008
- Outlook Business (India), May 5, 2006 – Sep 7-20, 2008
- Outlook Money (India), Jan 15, 2008 – Dec 31, 2008
- Outlook Profit (India), Mar 7, 2008 – Dec 26, 2008
- Outlook Traveller (India), Jun 2001 – Dec 2008
- PHOTOVIDEOi, April 2005 – Nov 2008
- Popular mechanics, Jan 1905 – Dec 2005
- Popular science, May 1872 – Feb 2008
- Pratiyogita Darpan (India), July 2006 – Dec 2008
- Prevention, Jan 2006 – Dec 2008
- Revolver, Jan 2007-Mar 2009
- The Rotarian, 1912-2008
- Rowing News, Oct 23, 1994 – Feb 2008
- Runner’s world, Jan 2006 – Dec 2008
- Running times, Jan 2006 – Dec 2008
- San Diego Magazine, Feb 2004-Feb 2009
- Scouting, Jan 1993 – Dec 2008
- Tampa Bay Magazine, 2006-2008
- Texas Monthly, Feb 1973-Dec 1992
- Timber Home Living (aka: Timber Frame Homes), 2001-2003
- Torque, Jan 2006 – Nov 2008
- Vacations, Jan-Feb 2006 – Sep-Oct 2008
- Vegetarian times, March 1981 – Nov 2004
- Vibe, Apr 1989, Sep 1993-2008
- VIBE Vixen, Nov 1993, Mar 2002-Sep 2007
- Weekly World News (Tabloid), 1981 – 2005
- Windows Vista, Autumn 2007 – Winter 2008
- Women’s health, Jan 2006 – Dec 2008
- Yoga Journal, July 1975 – Dec 2008
Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey
Maps and newspapers, because they’re rich in graphic information, benefit greatly from a zooming and panning interface. Text-only books, because they’re more linear and because text is easily searchable, don’t benefit from this sort of interface as much, but books with pictures certainly do.
zKimmer.com has recently implemented Google Maps technology for viewing non-map text and picture resources, such as magazines and newspapers, which are converted from PDF format. This is an exciting development especially because it holds promise that the same sort of technology could also be used for books.
With Google’s great success using a zooming-panning interface in Google Maps, and having recently launched Google Newspapers which also uses it, the question naturally occurs — Will Google developers sooner or later also use it for Google Books?
The zKimmer screen-shots above are from a magazine (though they could easily be from a book) and those below are from a newspaper. They both show how this interface facilitates navigating a resource that includes extensive pictures as well as text.
zKimmer lacks a good search capability (it has a search box, but it doesn’t seem to work) — So it’s not ready for heavy-duty enterprise use — It’s exciting, though, because it shows the potential value of a zooming-panning interface for books. Google Books already uses panning and zooming in a limited way, for navigating between pages, but a multi-page pan and zoom, as in zKimmer, would greatly simplify picture and text navigation.
Other implementations of the Google Maps API for non-map graphic resources are a desktop collection of elegant books by the reclusive German techno-artist Markus Dressen, and a card set from the World Of Warcraft.