Google Book Search and egosearching (redux)

A while back (19 months, to be precise), I posted a multitopic post that included my response to Dorothea Salo’s suggestion that Google Book Search might have enough current books to make egosearching worthwhile. I was pleasantly surprised, finding 26 books (none of them my own) referring to me.

So what’s changed? I tried it again today–using [“walt crawford” OR “crawford, walt”] as a search term.

Impressive. 219 results (which turn out to be 160 results when browsed through). That does include four of my own books, the three from ALA Editions and, thanks to scanning at the University of Michigan, my very first book. (I don’t know how I’d get Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change into Google Book Search….or, wait a minute, maybe I’ll sign up for that one of these days.)

Of the 160, three are false drops–e.g., a list of Hollywood names with Joan Crawford adjacent to Walt Disney, separated by commas. Five are other Walt Crawfords, as far as I can tell (race car driver, ornithologist, etc.). One is probably a false drop, but I couldn’t see any context to be sure–but it almost certainly wasn’t me.

Whew. That leaves, lessee, 160 minus four minus nine, 147 references in other books. Some are, of course, to Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality. [If you’re wondering, I always use the subtitle because another Future Libraries–without the subtitle–came out right around the same time.] Most aren’t.

I think I’ve seen at most half a dozen of the books that quote me or my stuff. Most of the rest I’ve never heard about. As far as I can tell, none of the quotes is in the context of saying “What an idiot!”–but sometimes you can’t see the context. (Actually, I’d expect at least 10%-20% of the citations to be in the context of disagreeing with me, and maybe the percentage should be higher.)

So writing a lot does lead to getting quoted a fair amount. Count me delighted. (And happy that what I seem to remember as a hundred-result limit on GBS result displays has gone away.)

One Response to “Google Book Search and egosearching (redux)”

  1. Laura says:

    I just tried a search for my father, who was a Classics professor. Most of the hits are for genealogy projects, just as they are in a regular Google search, but quite a few other citations and acknowledgments showed up, and most of those were new to me. Given that my father published only a handful of articles, it’s rather remarkable.