Out of Copyright, But Not Out of Circulation!

The British Library and Google announced a partnership last week to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the Library’s collections, encompassing works spanning nearly 300 years – some of which probably haven’t seen the light of day for as long!

The out-of-copyright books from around 1700 to 1870 will be digitised over three years, with the majority being books from continental Europe. 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 works will be available for full text search, download and reading through Google Books, as well as being searchable through the British Library’s website  within their digital archive, and will be accessible from anywhere in the world. For their part, Google has already scanned around 13 million books in partnerships with other libraries around the globe, and these are readily available from their site.

Our own Library possesses a vast (and ever growing!) stock of e-books, which are all readily accessible through the Library catalogue.

To find out more about the scheme, visit the British Library homepage here.

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