14 August 2014

Chess Books in the Internet Archive

My most recent Flickr Friday post, Lasker Seen Darkly, reminded me of a world that I had never explored properly: books in the Internet Archive. Taking one of the Flickr images at random, say Image from page 534 of "The standard Hoyle" (1909), leads to the page in the book where the image is found, e.g. The Standard Hoyle (Archive.org), from which the entire book is available. The book can then be browsed using a comfortable viewer that allows for different formats like one page, two pages, and many pages.

While Hoyle's 64-page entry for chess isn't particularly interesting to an experienced player, the viewer links to a catalog entry for the book, The standard Hoyle (Openlibrary.org). That's where the fun starts. The search box on 'chess' ('Show only eBooks') returns a list which looks something like the following image.

Books tagged:-

  • 'Read', can be browsed using the same software that we just saw for Hoyle, and eventually downloaded as a PDF (or similar).

  • 'Borrow', can also be browsed, but only downloaded into 'Adobe Digital Editions' (whatever that is).

  • 'Daisy', meaning 'This DAISY file is protected. It can only be opened on a specialized device with a key issued by the Library of Congress.'

'Daisy' is the most frequent tag, although there are plenty of books marked 'Read' or 'Borrow'. Note that copyrights aren't the only factor behind the tag. Many books marked 'Read' (and downloadable) are still under copyright. A couple of out-of-copyright books that I looked at the last time I visited a real library are now available through this service:-

A couple of authors who occasionally show up in searches on chess -- Stella Chess and Victoria Chess -- are also available. Now I can explore what they write about without buying the books.

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