The best kind of information (free)

I ordered a book from Amazon yesterday, even though I can read it for free on the internet.  I’d found it on Google Books and decided I wanted a copy of my very own.  Of course the nine hundred pages also makes browsing the content on-line a little less than practical-especially with kids waiting at my shoulder and begging to get on the computer.   I also like the idea that sponsors who make these books available (Google people, people?) are also seeing some benefit.

 At the risk of saying what the readers probably already know, there is a wealth of historical material available now on-line.  FOR FREE !!!  Google books has quickly become one of my favorite sources.  An example I just found is a book written on the history of the Donner Party, copywrited in 1879 and republished in 1907, over one hundred years ago.  How cool is that? 

This is also an illustrated work, which adds that much more.    Current academic texts can be interesting to local historians, but nothing can match the perspective, writing style and “feel” of an older work written by someone who lived the same type of life as the person they were writing about.

I found Helen Carpenter’s story in Google Books,  which gives an invaluable first hand description of Indian slave traders.  I have found a lot of other info on-line that way.

A warning.  Not all of the books are available as complete texts.   Google explains it this way…

Many of the books in Google Books come from authors and publishers who participate in our Partner Program. For these books, our partners decide how much of the book is browsable — anywhere from a few sample pages to the whole book.

For books that enter Google Books through the Library Project, what you see depends on the book’s copyright status. We respect copyright law and the tremendous creative effort authors put into their work. If the book is in the public domain and therefore out of copyright, you can page through the entire book and even download it and read it offline. But if the book is under copyright, and the publisher or author is not part of the Partner Program, we only show basic information about the book, similar to a card catalog, and, in some cases, a few snippets — sentences of your search terms in context. The aim of Google Books is to help you discover books and learn where to buy or borrow them, not read them online from start to finish. It’s like going to a bookstore and browsing – with a Google twist.

Fortunately for us, a lot of the historical stuff is old enough to be out of public domain and no longer protected by copywrite laws.  So, check out Google Books  when doing your research (but make sure there isn’t anyone in line waiting for the computer, because you could be there awhile… )


4 Responses to The best kind of information (free)

  1. kushboldt says:

    It should also be mentioned that google news allows the searching of old newspapers. Small publications are generally free and a per article charge is assessed for major newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. I have been doing some research into sexist and racist newspaper articles from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sadly, I have found an immense quantity of such articles in major newspapers. It pains me to pay the $3 download fee knowing that I am giving money to the very same institution which originally profited from the publication of these articles, so many times I go to the library to read the articles on microfilm after finding the reference on google.

    If you don’t feel the need to pay, “no fee” can be selected in the advanced news search.

    Although scarce, there are articles pertaining to our area in these archives. Some examples I’ve found are “Indian Outrages In Humboldt County.” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3693, 20 May 1869, Page 4 and this New York Times article mentioning whites murdered by Indians in Humboldt County.

    • lynette77 says:

      Thank you so much for noting this. I dream of eventually including a list on this blog of all the great resources out there… the internet is an amazing place, isn’t it?

  2. Kathy says:

    Lynette, I think I am getting addicted to your blog.

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