Help Googling Yiddish Books

Introduction

The advent of modern technology has made many kinds of information more easily accessible, but potential users of this information are often unaware of how to find it.

A case in point is the use of Google Books for investigating Yiddish usage. An enormous amount of Yiddish literature has been digitized and made searchable by the Google Books project. This makes it tremendously easier than in the past to search for examples of the usage of a word or phrase.

For the Medem Dictionary project we have made extensive use of this capability to verify definitions, and we would like to help others make use of this tool.

Basics

  1. Your query must be presented in Hebrew characters, and so you must have the ability to type Hebrew characters on your computer.
    Configuring this capability if you don't have it already is beyond the scope of this page; Shoshke-Reyzl Yuni’s web site has good beginner’s guides for the major operating systems.
  2. If you type your Yiddish query at the main Google page it will search for web pages. This might yield interesting results, but it usually isn't what you want if you’re interested in literary usage.
  3. To search for books rather than web pages, click on “More” at the top of the page, and select “Books” from the pull-down menu. Or you can start your search at the Book Search page.
  4. As with other searches, you will get a list of results, with a few lines of the text surrounding your search terms. You can see the actual scanned image by clicking on the link that begins each result block, unless the result says “No Preview”.

Finer points

Harry Bochner
11/10/2011
Yiddish Dictionary Project
און אַ דאַנק דוד פֿישמאַנען: ער האָט מיר געגעבן צו פֿאַרשטײן אַז דאָס איז מעגלעך געװאָרן!‏