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Google Books/Fed Docs: Google Statistics from Scratch

Having found no published statistics for numbers of digitized books in Google Books, and especially nothing about digitized government publications, I was left with coming up with them on my own.

So I went to the Advanced Book Search screen for Google Books.  Looking at the search options provided there I decided that the only way I could get reasonably useful statistics was to search for books published by GPO.  As you are all aware not all government documents are actually published by GPO. Many are merely distributed by them.  So I knew that my numbers would not be exact.  Another problem was that over the years GPO listed themselves as publishers using a variety of abbreviations and phrases.

My first try was to use GPO  in publisher and on August 8th I retrieved 141,600 hits. However just now when I ran it again, I only got 117,600. Hmmm.

Next search was for Government Printing Office, which retrieved both today and on the 8th, 43,600 hits.  This was followed by gov’t, which on the 8th retrieved 2,322 titles but today only retrieved 2,258.

The grand total for using these three searches on August 8th was 187,522.

Today as I was double checking my results, I also tried gov. print. off. and got 4,420 hits.  So as of this morning the grand total is 167,878.  I find it rather disconcerting that the number as dropped so much in nine days!



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