Wikis: Adding Links to Google Books
Rondout: alive in memory. Wikipedia image
By Bruce McKinney
This past month I used Google Books, the word-by-word search of eight million full text books, to look for buried references for the once vibrant and now mostly forgotten community of Rondout, New York, that one hundred and twenty-five years ago was merged into Kingston. Rondout today is a "once was" place that has legally disappeared. No banks or high schools for that matter declaim: "we're from Rondout and nobody is prouder." Kingston itself peaked years ago. It was once the capital of New York State and a few decades ago home to important IBM facilities. The capital was moved in 1797 to Albany and the IBM business went south in the 1990s - literally and figuratively. These days, along what was once the vibrant Rondout waterfront, there are three museums in various stages of hope and promise. One, the Hudson River Maritime Museum, is usually open, another, The Trolley Museum of New York, is open weekends during the summer and another is visible but not regularly open. This place was once the jumping off point for material coming off the D & H Canal carrying coal from Honesdale, Pennsylvania to Rondout where it was loaded onto large boats and barges and sent up and down the Hudson. Railroads eventually made this arduous trip unnecessary. The place has history. Buried portions of it show up in Google Books.
In looking for references to Rondout in Google Books it helps that Rondout is a very good search term. The term is unique and the results inevitably few. That's a good thing. Rondout, in the advanced search, with no other terms or parameter finds only 2,070 references. New York, for comparison, finds 1,320,000. Adding the date range 1601 to 1900 narrows Rondout results to 1,089. Narrowing the search to 1601 to 1800 there are 17.
One of those is Christoph Daniel Ebelings Erdbeschreibung und Geschichte von Amerika. This is a multi-volume set, printed between the early 1790s and the first two decades of the 19th century that I purchased from Bill Reese after learning it was relevant both to Rondout and to my general interest in the history of the Hudson Valley. Bill didn't try to sell me this book. Google Books demonstrated its relevance and I then searched AE's Books for Sale and other listing sites, found various loose volumes of the seven volume set and selected the Reese set as the best combination of price, condition and completeness.
In looking further into Google Books I also ran across an 1841 book with an interesting connection to Rondout. Its title does not betray the connection: "Sketch of a Railway Judiciously Constructed Between Desirable Points. Exemplified by a map and an appendix of facts." It was printed in New York in 1841 and offered by MacManus of Philadelphia in AE's Books for Sale. It includes cost information for shipping coal from Pennsylvania to New York via Rondout. Already, in 1841, the case for railroad versus canal transport was an issue to be debated.
I bought them both.
Wikis: Adding Links to Google Books
Rondout at night. Wikipedia image
They are both now part of a collection, specifically a Wiki Bibliography on Rondout & Kingston, that I'm building online. Because I found these items in Google Books using the full text search I know I can both add them to the Wiki and link their full texts and the specific sections I thought important to the listings. Then anyone browsing the collection can, beyond looking at the two-dimensional references, in these cases, read as much of the underlying text as they wish.
It turns out it's easy to post links for such texts to any related listings in the Wikis.
To take a look at this feature select Wiki Bibliographies from the sidebar menu on any AE page and then select Rondout & Kingston. Because entries come up in 'date entered' order these most recent entries are at the top of page one. If you click on either one there are links to Text Location that takes you directly into the Google Books citations.
For Wiki Bibliographers, on the control panel, inside of each listing, there is an option to link text. For these listings I one by one first seach Google Books, find the appropriate start page and then copy and paste its URL into the 'Textlocations Url/Link' space and then submit. I then check each listing. Both links are live. I can of course change the Google Books referenced start page simply by copying and pasting a different one into the space provided in the listing for such links. When I refresh my screen the link is revised.
This looks to me like a strong thread in the ever more complex tapistry of "The New Collecting."
Here are some related links:
Rondout & Kingston Wiki Bibliography.
Wiki Bibliography Start Page.
New York Trolley Museum.
Hudson River Maritime Museum.