Google checks out 250,000 books from the British Library

The British Library has announced a deal with Google to get 250,000 out of copyright books available online, through the Google Books platform.

The move means that books, pamphlets and periodicals from 1700-1870 - some 40 million pages - will be available for free, from any web browser in the world.

Google currently has deals with 40 other libraries in place and our sacred institution has continued its digital evolution by getting on board; it recently came to the app party with a couple of iOS apps as well.

Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library said: "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."

The first works to hit the Google Books platform will be a mixed bag, ranging from feminist pamphlets about Queen Marie-Antoinette (1791), details of the invention of the first combustion engine-driven submarine (1858), to an account of a stuffed Hippopotamus owned by the Prince of Orange (1775).

Something for everyone then.



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