Google print, which is scanning thousands of books in major research libraries, is useful when you want to scan across many English language books for terms. It only offers you a few pages, but will show you all the hits for words in given books, the pages they are on, and what pages surround them. Many books are not yet available, and you will find that some important books on East Asian history, both old and new are frustratingly missing will less common works are there. However, instead of going to the index of books you own, if it is on Google Print we have an increasingly quick alternative to consulting indexes.
For example, didn’t Wayne Patterson’s first book on Korean immigration to Hawaii talk quite a bit about Yun Ch’i Ho’s visit to Hawaii and his inspection of life and labor conditions on the sugar plantations? Ah yes, after searching with “wayne patterson korean immigration” and then choosing his first book, I searched for “Yun Ch’i Ho” within the book and Google Print returns about 35 page references. I can then login to my google account and view some of these pages.
Now, most of us know that Google has also been scanning lots of books no longer protected under copyright. Thanks to this announcement, it is easier for me to get at them.
Go to Google Print and search for Japan related books, for example, with this search term:
You might also want to try “corea” and you can also use other search elements to limit by author for example (eg. author:smith) or title (eg. intitle:language).
This could develop into a very useful searching tool for us in the future, since every page of these public domain books can be searched and viewed through google.
Update: See more interesting examples of old google print text searching over at Cliopatria.