Google Books May Not Be Great For Research

Google Books may not be that great for research. “By not taking into account the relative popularity of texts, Google Books leaves itself open to disproportionate influence from less widely recognized sources. ‘It’s as if you’re giving every work in a library the same weight,’ [Peter] Dodds said. When an author publishes numerous books about a single character, for example, that character’s name may appear to be far more central to an era’s discourse than it actually was. Dodds pointed me to the example of Star Trek novelizations, which made names like Spock appear with improbable frequency. By contrast, Dodds noted, a long-standing best-seller like A Tale of Two Cities has trouble making a dent at all, even in eras when everyone was reading it.” I know that sometimes things evolve to different uses, but is this why Google Books was started in the first place?

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