Because our projects involve well-known works in the public domain, Google Books is a resource applicable to all groups. If you search using Google, web results will include a few from Google Books; thus any person who uses Google Search is already familiar with using Google Books. But Google Search can be limited simply to Books, as well. In addition to searching for our source texts, Google Books allows students to search for other, related texts to investigate.
While the use of Google Books has become ubiquitous through individuals’ use of Google Search, it is important to understand how the service generates results. While the goal of Google Books is “to create a virtual card catalog of all books in all languages”, it is not complete. Books and magazines come from the Partner Program and the Library Project. The Partner Program helps publishers promote their works by providing them for searchable indexing. The Library Project digitizes the collections of partner libraries (including the University of Virginia), allowing users to search many out-of-print texts.
If a text is in the public domain, such as our source texts, then a pdf will be available for download. But if a text is under copyright, varying portions of the text will be available. In some cases a user can browse a few pages at a time; in other cases, only a few snippets as allowed under fair use laws may be available at a time. Additionally, other sources such as Gallica and the Internet Archive may contain texts which Google Books has yet to index. Google Books hopes to digitize all of the approximately 130 million unique books by the end of the decade.