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Google Books and academic research

July 31, 2008

I’m finding Google Books to be an unexpectedly powerful research tool as I prepare the introduction to the forthcoming edited volume Bräuchler, B. and J. Postill (eds) Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford and New York: Berghahn. Part of the intro deals with how media anthropologists have used the key notion of ‘practices’, and Google Books tells you exactly where and how in a book – in this case the main textbooks in media anthropology – a given word is used. Trouble is, there is a limit to how many pages you can view per book, so in some cases I’ve had to go the page in the physical book and search for the word unaided, but at least it gives you the complete pagination which is a great help.

See also:

Recent article on Google’s project to digitise the collections of major research libraries in The New York Review of Books

Google Book Search Bibliography

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2008 7:56 pm

    Among tech-focused corporations, Google is probably among the most academia-friendly. Both Google Books and Google Scholar are directly addressing the needs of academics to find textual references (even though Google Books includes many non-academic texts, it functions almost like a university library). And Google’s support for open access in general is quite compatible with the general academic culture in which we work.
    The restrictions you note, coming from publishers, are antithetical to the academic mission of increasing knowledge by widely sharing information. This is a case in which Google is on our side and publishers are on the other side.


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  2. Media anthropological uses of keyword ‘practices’ « media/anthropology

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