Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hack Your GoogleBooks: Search By Shelf!

If you poke around in the URL of your GoogleBooks, you can learn some nifty tricks. One trick I learned today is that you can do a search of the contents of a specific bookshelf! Here's how:

Click on a bookshelf to see the whole bookshelf. For example, here is my Animal Lore bookshelf:

For comparison, here is my English Aesop bookshelf:

Notice that what is changing is the query item as_coll, where each bookshelf seems to have a unique identifier: my Animal Lore bookshelf is 1010 and my English Aesop bookshelf is 1018. My own id number remains the same, as does the source=gbs mumbo jumbo (whatever that is).

Here's the hack: just add &q=SEARCHWORD to the end of your URL and you will get the results of a search on the content of that bookshelf.

So, for example, here is a search of my Animal Lore books for elephant:

Here is a search of my English Aesop books for elephant:

When you click on a book in the search results, it takes you into that book, with the search term already loaded, so you can take advantage of the search features that are already part of GoogleBooks (display/hide search, page through the search results backwards and forwards, etc.).

How awesome is that??????? Just one of the many reasons why I chose for the address of this blog ILoveGoogleBooks!!!

Now the question is when will Google build this into the normal user interface so we don't have to mess with the URLs...???? That will be great!


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