Stephen Downes’ blog reports the launch of Google Books, a new beta service from Google, which provides a search engine to thousands of electronic public domain books, including many rare books – many digitised by Google themselves.
As a keen devotee of literature and drama, I’ve been joyfully digesting some gems such as a mid-19th-century copy of Romeo & Juliet, poetry books by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Burns, and even the epic Iliad by Homer.
Happily, all (or almost all) of the many available historical texts are scanned as images, and thus appear typeset and illustrated exactly as they would in their original bound form. While not all of the books are downloadable (and must be read online, or downloaded a page at a time, grrr), many can be downloaded in PDF format.
Particularly because the appearance of the typesetting and illustrations are preserved, many of these texts are excellent resources for mobile learners and the PDF format makes them readable on most PDAs and ebooks.
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