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Google Teams Up With British Library

David Gilbert


British Library

Google and the British Library will team up to digitise around 40 million pages from books, pamphlets and periodicals covering topics such as the end of slavery, the French Revolution and the beginning of income tax in the UK.

The tie up will be one of more than 40 that Google has in place with libraries around the world and the results will be made available for free on the Google Books website as well as the British Library website. The partnership will last for a number of years until all the 250,000 out-of-copyright books have been digitised, with Google covering all the 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 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). All pretty exciting stuff.

Google British Library

Once digitised, these 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 within the Library’s digital archive. Speaking about the new initiative, British Library chief executive Dame Lynne Brindley said: "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.”

This is just another step in Google’s attempt to make the content of all the world’s book searchable online and we, for one, are looking forward to learning more about that stuffed Hippo.

Source: British Library

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