Semantic Search: Talk to Books

Google introduced a demo version of a new semantic search tool: Talk to Books.

TtB is not a traditional search engine in that keyword searching won’t return the best results. It’s better served to type out a whole question (harkening back to Ask Jeeves days!).

The results are culled from the large e-library of Google Books and the results page is easy to take in with its quote pull-outs and cover images.

As it exists, Talk to Books is not a major stop on a research journey–these results pull from all sorts of sources, not taking into account their scholarly nature or whether information is up-to-date.

It is, however, a novelty that presents a new way to interact with searching and finding books outside what you would normally come across. One of the sample search queries is “Why did you do that?,” for example.

Talk to Books is also primed for experimentation. Changing up your search style will bring up a wholly different set of results.



As this resource grows and more semantic-style search tools are developed, the way we interact with our searches (in this case, primary sources) will change for the better.



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