Thursday, August 2, 2007

Learning Something New Each Day

I am amazed at how much we can learn each day. Considering how much I don't know, it seems that the ability to learn becomes more important each day. As a genealogical and historical researcher the ability to absorb new facts, opinions, and trends is critical to my understanding of people. It has always been helpful for me to read contemporary accounts of historical events. That is one of my favorite uses of Google Books.

Google Books is an effort to digitize the images along with searchable text. According to their site:

"Our project is to include library collections in Google Book Search and make these books searchable and discoverable. We show useful information about the book, and in many cases, a few snippets – a few sentences to display your search term in context. When a book is out of copyright, you can view or download it in its entirety."

Try this example yourself.

Search for "oklahoma territory" and click Search Books. You will find over 1000 books listed. If you click on Full View at the top of the page, the list will show only those books found in the public domain. Notice the wonderful titles and descriptions. If you select any of the titles, the image will appear and allow you to page through the book, check an index, or search through the title.

Select The American Settler's Guide: A Popular Exposition of the Public Land System of the U.S. Once the image appears, choose Table of Contents from the list on the right of the image. Notice that Chapter 1 of this book details the types of land, while Chapter 2 goes through the process step-by-step. This provides a great tool for researchers to follow the same instructions our ancestors were reading in 1895 or 1884 or earlier.

We may go to specific pages in the book by entering a page number or forwards/backwards arrows at the top of the image or scrolling with the mouse. We may also download a PDF copy of this document to our computer by selecting Download PDF near the top right of the image.

Okay, I've shared the sight and few short tips - So go learn something new today.

Keeping the Story Alive - Mark
J. Mark Lowe
J. Mark Lowe Reviews
Springfield, Tennessee Speakers
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