Anybody interested in history has probably got a ton of books stashed somewhere in their house, apartment, car or wherever. I know I do!
But eBooks and digitized books are poised to transform the way we read and gather historical information. Now, this is not a library blog, so I won’t go into too much depth, but from a history point of view, these changes are big!
There will always be paper, but I think the way we gather historical sources will change even more. A good example of this is Google Books. I’ve profiled this wonderful source before, so I won’t belabor the point, but as a jumping off point, want to point you to an additional digitized book and document resource you might have not yet heard about…Ready? Let’s go!
Charles Lindbergh has always been a favorite of mine. Granted he’s had some issues with his approach to pre-World War II Germany, but from looking at his impact on American history, historians cannot fault him for the changes he brought about in aviation and culture.
So in looking for more information on Lindbergh, I naturally tried Google Books. There was some good material there as usual, but I also found an additional site that was really good:
The HathiTrust Digital Library, located at http://catalog.hathitrust.org/, is a mixture of publicly viewable documents as well being a sort of book catalog (for you librarians that’s the ILS). Some background information on the HathiTrust is a huge partnership between libraries of all types. Current volume count is 5 million volumes and growing!
For the researcher, what is available to view and use is tremendous. Books are available in PDF, text or image format and controls enable you to to rotate, resize and manipulate the page inside the web browser. The only frustrating thing I’ve found is that books, unlike Google, cannot be downloaded…at least not yet….and that some volumes are restricted from public viewing. Hopefully these restrictions might change in the near future?
The upshot of all of this, however, is for you, another great source to use and learn in your historical quests! I’ll leave you today with one more screenshot from the site. This one is a book by the famous Ernie Pyle that talks about his introduction to England:
Have a great weekend!