July 25, 2014

The British Library and Google to Digitize and Make Freely Available 250,000 Books

The British Library and Google announced a partnership today to digitze 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the library’s collections that will be available to anyone who wants to do research.

Over the coming years, the content will be delivered free through Google Books and the British Library’s website. Google will pay all costs.

This project will include printed books, pamphlets and periodicals from 1700 to 1870. The material will be in a variety of  languages and will focus on books  not yet freely available in digital form online.

Once digitized, the content will be available for full text search, download and reading through Google Books, as well as being searchable through the library’s website and stored in perpetuity within the library’s digital archive.

Any user will be able to copy, share and manipulate text for non-commercial purposes.

Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library said in a press release: “In the nineteenth century it was an ambition of our predecessors to give everybody access to as much of the world’s information as possible, to ensure that knowledge was not restricted to those who could afford private libraries. The way of doing it then was to buy books from the entire world and to make them available in Reading Rooms.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Google on this project and through this partnership believe that we are building on this proud tradition of giving access to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Our aim is to provide perpetual access to this historical material, and we hope that our collections coupled with Google’s know-how will enable us to achieve this aim.”

Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley (mkelley@mediasourceinc.com) is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.

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