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Assessing the coverage of Hawaiian and Pacific books in the Google Books digitization project

Andrew Weiss (Delmar T. Oviatt Library, The California State University, Northridge, Northridge, California, USA)
Ryan James (Hamilton Library, The University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Article publication date: 8 February 2013




The purpose of this paper is to report on a quantitative study of massive digital library (MDL) Google Books' coverage of Hawaiian and Pacific books.


A total of 1,500 books were randomly selected from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Hawaiian, Pacific, and general stacks collections. Their level of access was then determined in Google Books by observing whether the books had a metadata record, were full‐text searchable, and whether they were available as in snippet, preview, or full‐text views.


Results show that Google Books has a sizable number of metadata records for Hawaiian and Pacific books, but has only a limited number available for full‐text searching. In contrast, a larger number of books from the general stacks were available for full‐text searching.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the small sample size, margins of error remain quite large. The field would benefit from a larger size of collection sample.

Practical implications

Diversity in librarianship is a major concern for libraries both within the USA, as in the case of historically underrepresented groups as well as in non‐English‐speaking countries.

Social implications

Diversity in librarianship also concerns the central mission of libraries to provide the basic human right of access to information. Digital libraries must be held to the same standards.


Massive digital libraries such as Google Books need to be more carefully examined; this study contributes to this need.



Weiss, A. and James, R. (2013), "Assessing the coverage of Hawaiian and Pacific books in the Google Books digitization project", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 13-21.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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