Full-text Book Searches: My Library vs. A9.com

As of last night, I am one of the four people on Earth for whom Google has lost its mojo. It's old hat. It was quite a romance but the end is near. Google, I still love you but...

I've lost that Google feeling.

Soon, very soon, you will be just another search engine with an ever-changing logo. Microsoft will launch its new MSN Search. Amazon will continue to improve A9.com, and apparently, even the sweet, little, old librarians at my public library will give you a run for your easy-come-easy-go IPO bucks.

It's been one year since Amazon announced it's "Search Inside the Book" initiative to drop tens of millions of non-fiction books into a searchable database and make it available to the public via its dazzling A9.com site. I had heard that the King County Library System’s online “databases” search* was good...um...is good.

So last night, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of a9.com and KCLS.org to see how good they really are. The results were astounding. I wonder why Google doesn't provide full-text book searches...

Search string: “Configuration Management
Additional Criteria: I was looking for a specific book about SCM.

My Results


1473 results.

Some books partially-searchable.

Included a link to excerpts of the specific book I was looking for and a way to buy a hard copy.


KCLS.org (Searching Books24x7 category only)

144 Books returned

All books Fully-searchable

Did not include the book I was looking for but I found one for “free” that meets my needs. These fully-searchable books included titles like:

Software Configuration Management
Journal: Auerbach Publications 2004
Pages: (619)
ISBN: 0849319765

A Guide to Software Configuration Management
Journal: Artech House 2000
Pages: (382)
ISBN: 1580530729

Interpreting the CMMI: A Process Improvement Approach
Journal: Auerbach Publications 2003
Pages: (414)
ISBN: 0849316545

Software Configuration Management
Journal: John Wiley & Sons 1992
Pages: (352)
ISBN: 0471530492

Software Development on a Leash
Journal: Apress 2002
Pages: (429)
ISBN: 1893115917

Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules
Journal: Microsoft Press 1996
Pages: (647)
ISBN: 1556159005

You have to have a King County Library Card to utilize this service. You can apply online. I don't know if you can get a card if you are not a resident of King County Washington but it's certainly worth a try.

Comments (7)

  1. Steve says:

    umm, look under the covers of A9 and you find Google… http://a9.com/-/company/whatsCool.jsp … sweet the best of both worlds


  2. Jeff Lewis says:

    Google does (or will) do full text searching of books: http://print.google.com/

  3. Erik Neu says:

    It took me a while to get what it was trying to do, but when I wanted to search on the origin of the phrase "the die is cast", the result I got clearly illustrated the benefit. Try http://clusty.com/search?query=%22the+die+is+cast%22+meaning to see what I mean.

  4. Harharhar, clusty ~= clusterer.

    There must be a fancy name for what Clusty does…like optimistic attribution-based clustering. It’s cool but I hunger for more.

    I want my search engine to learn about my preferences and refine my search results over time to help me find stuff faster.

    For example, if 60% of the sites I hit from Clusty’s search results are genealogy sites and one day I search for "Britney Spears" (one of the most common search kwds on the Net), I would hope to see the "Family,Genealogy" cluster on top and Britney’s family history sites above discologies and music downloads.

    It’s easy to find Britney Spears MP3s but it’s difficult to find information about the person that is relevant or interesting to amateur genealogists.

    On the other hand, if a majority of my online searches relate to puzzles and I searched for BRITNEYSPEARS, I would be endlessly amused to learn that my search string is an anagram for PRESBYTERIANS.

    Wait. Wait. Don’t tell me. Google already has an intuitive, attribution-based, optimistic clustering engine, right? http://labs.google.com/personalized

    Yeah, I know. But I’m going to add one more wrinkle:

    My perfect search engine takes everything into account: my context, which includes location, time of day, date, nearby holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, events I have attended recently and will attend soon, my age, the ages (and maybe the locations) of my friends and family, the weather, Windows applications I have used recently or am currently using, my musical and literary preferences, indexed information about the content I have created and viewed, as well as information about past searches and Web browsing habits.

  5. ansari says:

    plz help meeeeeeeeeee

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