Casefile Clues

24 February 2014

HathiTrust Does Not Equal Google Books and Google Books Does Not Equal Hathitrust

[note: at 11:17 AM Central time on 24 February, I cannot replicate the searches shown in these screen shots. A more detailed update will be posted later today]

This is a good example of why checking more than one site, set of digital images, database, etc. is necessary.

I'm in the process of trying to locate a copy of a 1944 letter my great-grandfather sent to the Prairie Farmer magazine. Google Books is how I found the reference and the snippet view is pretty clear that the name in the magazine is Fred Ufkes.

I searched at HathiTrust for the same item and it was not located.


Of course, there are reasons why the item was not found:

  • The digital image used by HathiTrust was not comparable quality to the one on Google Books.
  • The OCR used by HathiTrust did not recognize "Ufkes" as "Ufkes."
The reasons aren't necessarily germane at this point--but they serve to remind us that not all sets of images are created equally.

If I had only searched for Fred Ufkes on HathiTrust I never would have located the reference.

Are you limiting your searches?

We'll have an update on the search for the 1944 issue of Prairie Farmer as the search continues.