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History 430: Seminar in U.S. History (Quinney)

Sources and methods in researching the history of US foreign policy and affairs..

Books on the Internet

Some publishers, organizations, and universities have placed open-access books on the internet. They may be older editions, out of copyright, and in some cases, pirated versions. 

Google Books is one means to discover these works. 

  • Lacks subject headings to find similar materials
  • Does not always have the complete book due to copyright restrictions
  • Text navigation features are limited in comparison to the standard e-book
  • Cannot download content
  • It may be easier to request through our Digitization on Demand service

Other collections are found in the following: 

Books in Google

Google Books offers a range of access to book content that Google has digitized from a variety of library collections. The results may appear as: 

  • Citation only (tells you the book exists, but you cannot access content)
  • Snippet or Preview (access to some of the book, but maybe not the part you need)
  • Full text (the whole book with some search ability to focus on the part you need.) 


  • Not only books, but newspapers and magazines are included unless you apply the appropriate filter. 
  • US government documents (reports, hearings, etc.) are included.


  • The Library function allows to to bookmark titles into a collection within Google (you are giving up some privacy.) 
  • Search function within the book shows how many matches there are to your search term which is not necessarily the most useful evaluation tool.  
  • Date limiter is the publication date, not the historical period. 


  • Cannot filter for scholarly works only, meaning you might get works of fiction on your topic.
  • Search results will only highlight the first term in your search (to find the other terms, 'clear search' and type in the new term.) 
  • Anything under copyright (1924 and newer) will likely limit the amount of content. 
  • You cannot download any book.
  • You cannot print from Google Books (use screen capture to save a piece you need.)