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Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Trove” is the National Library of Australia’s archival website. Most often used to study old newspaper files, it has a range of other downloadable categories, including books. 

We’ve seen that DIGS can access a vast number of mining related documents, mainly from New South Wales (see Blog on DIGS dated 4th June 2013). Not many of these can also be found through Trove, but it is extremely useful for locating titles no longer covered by copyright.

Books can be accessed from sources all around the world. You will soon find that it’s harder to use than DIGS. For a start, there are no catalogue numbers that I can list for you; you will have to locate the books yourself. You will also find that books from some sources are harder to download than others. In fact, I still haven’t figured some sources out. More annoying still are those that you think you can download until you find that you must first be a member of a certain library group, have a password or that you can only get a text-only copy, minus illustrations etc.

Nevertheless, it’s a valuable resource and I’ve gathered quite a collection of useful books. Here’s how to get started.
First bring up the home page: You should bookmark this immediately. Click on “Books”. Now tick the “Available online” and “Australian content” boxes, though obviously the latter won’t always be needed. It will cut out a lot of extraneous material, however.

We will locate a book that was in the Parramatta High School library when I was a student there in the 1950’s. It was the book that really piqued my interest in Geology. The full title is “The Geology of Sydney and the Blue Mountains” by Rev J Milne Curran.
Now return to the web page. In the “Search” box put in what you consider are the key words. Try “Geology”, “Sydney” and “Blue Mountains”. Don’t use the author’s name – you probably won’t know it or you will likely get the spelling wrong. Click on “Search”.
I came up with a list of 61 books. Putting “Blue Mountains” in quotes reduces the list to 32. Search through the list, trying not to be distracted by all the other interesting titles and the maps and photos etc listed on the right. The book isn’t in the list. Why not? Try leaving off “Blue Mountains”. Enter “Search” again. The list blows out to 732. After going through 4 pages (and lots of interesting material) still no success. Try “Geology of Sydney” in quotes. No luck there either. Frustrating isn’t it? Try “Geology” and “Sydney” again but uncheck “Australian content”. 
EUREKA! There it is, 4 times on the first page. Click on the one of your choice. I chose the second and it took me to the Internet Archive of the University of Toronto, where you can read details of the book. On the far left, click on PDF to download the file. This will take some time. It took me 7 minutes to bring down the 422 page book. Before you start exploring the  book, SAVE IT! Click on “File”, then “Save page as” and then name and save the book wherever you want to put it. (Your computer may well have a different way to save the file, but be sure to do it immediately you have downloaded it. 

While this can be a frustrating process, it's worth coming to terms with it. Here are several other books which I downloaded while preparing for this Blog. You might try locating them!   

See also my You Tube videos here .

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