Grep your book

Finally, it is (almost) possible!

I rediscovered computers in 1995. Soon after, Academic network of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia went on the Internet. In 1998 it was not so easy for me to read paper books. From the late 1999 I didn’t read one paper book except it was necessary for exams.

And as time was passing, whenever I had wanted to find some information in some book, I had been realizing that I desperately need one tool: grep. At the later stadium of my illness I realized that I am trying to find how to grep for keys in space (for example: grep “something small and red in this room” > results.txt).

Then I found Wikipedia. And, except for references, I don’t use books. But, the problem still exists. If I need one information and book doesn’t have so good index, it is possible to spend hours for getting only one information.

Some time ago, while I was trying to make some useful articles about grammatical cases, I realized that Google Books Search gives different informations then Google Search. (Please, remember that information in the process of making articles!) OK, nice, but it is still not so useful because I was able to find only if something exists or not. (The majority of books on the Google’s service are not available for reading.)

Google made one step forward. It allows users to manage and search their own books by using their ISBNs. However, it will be really useful when Google makes a deal with publishers and allow users to search and use bought books via its service. I would buy a book, but I don’t need papers.

Yes, it is more useful to have the book in HTML or TXT form, like O’Reilly gives its books. However, if some publishing companies really don’t want to give it in such form, it would be good to allow at least that not-possible-to-copy electronic search and use.


~ by millosh on September 7, 2007.

3 Responses to “Grep your book”

  1. Basically, in two years, you’ve managed to miss the whole massive hullabaloo about LibraryThing?

  2. I am looking there, but I didn’t find a possibility to search text inside of the books. Am I missing something?

    It is nice to have an online social network library, but the point related to the Google Books is that you are able to search through the text of the books.

  3. Okay, I misread the point, but then I never had to search desperately for information in my books. Only ever when looking through other people’s or library books.

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