Google Will Scan 250,000 Out-Of-Copyright Books For The British Library

Turns out libraries and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) can work together on books – as long as copyright is no longer an issue.

The British Library is handing 250,000 out-of-copyright titles from 1700 to 1870 for full-text digitisation by Google, in a multi-year partnership to open access to the collection.

“(We will) deliver this content free through Google Books and the British Library’s website. Google will cover all digitisation costs,” according to the library. As well as being hosted on Google Books, the titles will also go in to the library’s own digital archive and Europeana, the continental digital library archive.

The period covers the French and Industrial Revolutions, The Battle of Trafalgar and the Crimean War. Google says it has partnered with over 40 libraries around the world.

British Library CEO Dame Lynne Brindley (via announcement): “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 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.”