London: In a landmark agreement, the British Library and Google on Monday announced a deal to make available one of the world’s biggest collections of historic books, pamphlets and periodicals online.
The agreement includes texts dating back to the eighteenth century and allows readers to view, search and copy the out-of-copyright works at no charge.
Google will also make the books available on its site.
The partnership between the British Library and the internet giant will help digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the library’s collections, reflecting the library’s commitment to increase access to anyone who wants to do research, a British Library release said.
Selected by the British Library and digitised by Google, both organisations will work in partnership over the coming years to deliver this content free through Google Books (http://books.google.co.uk) and the British Library’s website (www.bl.uk).
Google will cover all digitisation costs.
This project will digitise a huge range of printed books, pamphlets and periodicals dated 1700 to 1870, the period that saw the French and Industrial Revolutions, The Battle of Trafalgar and the Crimean War, the invention of rail travel and of the telegraph, the beginning of UK income tax, and the end of slavery, the release added.
It will also include material in a variety of major European languages, and will focus on books that are not yet freely available in digital form online.
The first works to be digitised will range from feminist pamphlets about Queen Marie-Antoinette (1791), to the invention of the first combustion engine-driven submarine (1858), and an account of a stuffed Hippopotamus owned by the Prince of Orange (1775).
Once digitised, these unique items 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.