Adding resources from Google Books

Google Books, like Project Gutenberg and the Million Books Project at The Internet Archive, has been a useful player in the expanding digitization of information that has been previously only available in book form. But with the heavyweight resources it has in terms of finance and cooperative agreements, it is pulling far ahead of the latter two increasing in its usefulness as a digital library.

One case in point is the amount of music now available for download, in high resolution (600 dpi), searchable pdf files. I’ve found a number of good song and aria collections that are available in full view mode. They can be a bit hard to discover, since they are somewhat poorly tagged, but I’ve spent several hours doing targeted searches and am adding a number of them as ASC Sources. Once I’ve transcribed the Table of Contents for each one, it will be easy to search for songs they contain through this site. And since they are available for download from Google, all of that repertoire will be instantly accessible to ASC users.

New additions include much of “The Musicians Library” published by Oliver Ditson Co., a high quality series that saw wide distribution in the first decade of the 20th century. (A number of volumes from this series have been rereleased by Dover.)

I’ve also already added Heart Songs, a huge collection of popular hits and “oldies” from about the same period. While the songs it contains are generally not appropriate for the concert stage, it contains many pieces that are widely known and thus useful for group singing. (I also discovered a few fun pieces therein with which I was utterly unfamiliar.) The arrangements are a mix of four part harmony and solo voice with piano.

Update: I’ve started some similar searches at the Internet Archive, and am amazed at what is also available there. So far, the two collections complement each other nicely. The Internet Archive collection has the mixed blessing of offering their books principally in djvu format. (The bitonal pdf versions they offer seem rarely of high enough quality to be worthwhile.) Djvu has high quality and better compression than PDF, but needs a specialty viewer.