Google has taken on quite the challenge. They want to catalog the world’s entire collection of tomes using their Google Books application. Every single one. But before they can do that, they need to know what they’re dealing with. And that’s where their engineers come into play. Using Google’s official definition of a book, the company estimates that there are 129,864,880 books roaming the libraries and academic halls across the world. Google’s definition reads as:
One definition of a book we find helpful inside Google when handling book metadata is a �tome,� an idealized bound volume. A tome can have millions of copies (e.g. a particular edition of Angels and Demons by Dan Brown) or can exist in just one or two copies (such as an obscure master�s thesis languishing in a university library).
Not a perfect definition? Google is well aware. But it gives them a good handle of what they’re looking for and goes beyond the ISBN identification standard. Google engineers used a plethora of algorithms to weed out duplicates, microforms, audio books, t-shirts and the like. After removing government documents from the mix, they arrived at their 129 million number.