The purpose of this paper is to compare Google Books with WorldCat and to assess some other functionalities of Google Books.
Over 500 random samples generated from WorldCat were searched on Google Books. The search results were used to compare the coverage between Google Books and WorldCat, to estimate the successful link rate to a local library catalogue, the percentage available as full view, snippet, and preview on Google Books, and other services of Google Books.
Google Books can retrieve almost all the books catalogued in WorldCat. Its “Find in a library” link to a local library catalogue works 75 percent of the time. Fewer than 10 percent of Google Books items have free full views, and about 15 percent have snippets and previews, respectively. Previews are much more useful than snippets. Google Books probably indexes books that it does not possess in digital form, in addition to indexing all the books that it has acquired in digital form.
No previous empirical studies of this kind have been found. This study assesses Google Books' coverage and services with quantitative measures.
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