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Google announced on Monday that it is soon to begin digitizing 250,000 books from The British Library, making them free to view online. The works, which span 170 years of history, will be carefully selected historical out-of-copyright publications, with Google responsible for handling and scanning costs.

Once complete, users will be able to peruse the collection on Google Books and The British Library’s website, with Google providing downloadable versions and the ability to conduct full text searches. The materials include pamphlets, books and periodicals from 1700-1870 in a variety of European languages.

Chief Executive of The British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley 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. 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.

Over the process of the digitization, around 40 million pages will have to be scanned. Unsurprisingly, we’ve had no sniff of an estimated completion date.

Source: The British Library


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  1. Colin
    June 24, 2011 at 7:25 am


  2. Tyler
    June 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm


  3. John Salter
    June 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I want that one.