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Selecting Search Engines

A collection of general and specialized web search engines.

Book Search Engines

Google Books logo

Search Interfaces

Description

  • Searches a vast collection of digitized books. 
  • Google looks for your search word in the title and other descriptive information about a book as well as in the actual text of that book to find results. 
  • The amount of a book you can see varies. Some (usually older) books can be read in full, some will let you see a preview of part of the book, some will only show short snippets of the book based on your search terms, and some will only have descriptive information about the book.  
  • The advanced search gives you additional options with searching, including limiting to books by what you can see; searching only the title, author, publisher, or subject of a book; searching by publication dates; and searching by ISBN.  
  • You can organize books you find into a personal library with a Google account. 

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HathiTrust logo

Search Interfaces

Description

  • Searches digitized books, magazines, and other print materials from major research libraries worldwide
  • There are two main types of search: catalog and full-text. 
    • Catalog searches for words in descriptive information about books, such as title, author, table of contents, subjects, and summary.
    • Full-text searches for words in the whole book in addition to the descriptive information. 
  • Both catalog and full-text search have advanced options for controlling where in a book different search words are located. 
  • You can read whole books if they are in the public domain, meaning they are not protected under copyright. For other books you can only read descriptive information and search for page numbers of search words.

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Open Library logo

Search Interfaces

Description

  • An open catalog designed to create descriptive information for every book every published.
  • Access to books varies. Some cannot be read on OpenLibrary, though information on how to find the book in a library is often included. Some books are available free because they are in the public domain. Others can be borrowed for free with an OpenLibrary account.  
  • The search looks for your search words in all of the descriptive information for the book such as title, author, subject, and publisher. The advanced search allows you to pick what part of the descriptive information is searched. 
  • The full-text search looks for your search words inside of books. 
  • You can browse for books by subject categories. 
  • Part of the Internet Archive. 

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WorldCat logo

Search Interfaces

Description

  • WorldCat searches library collections across the world to find books as well as DVDs, CDs, and other items collected by libraries. 
  • For each result, you can input a zip code to find libraries near you with the material. 
  • From the results page, you can limit your results by format, year of publication, author, topic, language, fiction or non-fiction, and audience. 
  • The advanced search lets you search specific information such as by title, author, subject, and ISBN number and control many of the same limiting options as the results page. 
  • You can create lists of materials you find with an account

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