Friday, May 04, 2007 at 12:51 PM
Last week, I joined the rest of the Google Book Search team for a trip to the Feria International del Libro in Bogotá, Colombia. As a book enthusiast, I was excited to meet and talk with writers, readers, and publishers from around the world, especially in a city like Bogotá, which UNESCO recently named World Book Capital for 2007. (It turns out Bogotá is the first city in South America to be so honored, joining cities such as Madrid and Alexandria.)
While at the fair, fellow Googler Dan Abbe and I made friends with a guy named Sebastián, who was already familiar with Google Scholar — he told us he used it to research a book about philosophy, power, and the concept of "el filósofo gobernante," or the "governing philosopher." Throughout the fair, he'd regularly steal away to our booth to search for books on Foucault, and every so often he'd scribble down the title of a book he'd discovered, including Literature, Theory, and Common Sense, a book that he found serendipitously. He stumbled upon it while searching for books by Mark Lilla, an author he admires who happens to be the editor of a broader series that includes the book.
We also met Felipe, who recently received his degree after completing a thesis on mobile-phone software programming. He told us it had been difficult to find good Spanish-language titles on this topic, but using Google Book Search, he discovered Java a Tope: J2me. Happily, Felipe was able to find and buy it at a local bookstore, and it became an essential tool for completing his work. (Here's a book on J2me for English speakers.)