June 28, 2012
HathiTrust Better Than Google for Full-Text Access to Federal Gov Docs
Quoting from the conclusion of A Comparison of HathiTrust and Google Books Using Federal Publications by Laura Sare (Texas A&M), 2 Practical Academic Librarianship 1, 21-22 (2012):
Since most users want access to full-text, HathiTrust offers the best database for finding government documents after 1923. Users concerned with privacy issues may prefer HathiTrust or want to use Google Books while logged out of their Google account. Those familiar with the Google eBookstore or who want the added functionality of data visualization to read and provide reviews may prefer Google Books. Regarding record overlap, HathiTrust had a greater percentage of publication records also available in Google Books, but with fewer records overall, while Google Books had records for more government documents than HathiTrust, and therefore a smaller overlap range. These results show that if a user cannot find a federal document in HathiTrust, Google Books might have a “Snippet” view record for that document and that record may provide more information for users to determine if the document is one that would be useful to them. However, caution is also advised for Google Books’ records, as metadata mistakes on the full-text and “Snippet” view records should be taken into account by librarians and users alike.
Free Government Information highlights the reasons for this conclusion at Comparing Hathitrust and Google Books as repositories of government documents. [JH]