Google (specifically Google Books) has been joining forces with libraries around the world to digitise documents from the past, then making them available to the internet trawling public free of charge!
The British Library – which holds a humongous collection of over 150 million items – will be digitising some 250000 documents from the 1700 – 1870 era.
It has been announced that a pamphlet about Marie Antoinette will be one of the first works to go online, alongside the 1858 plans by Spanish Inventor Narcis Monturiol for a submarine!
Apparently this will take some time, so nothing’s available just yet, but I’ll keep you posted. Google will be carrying the cost of the digitisation.
The Chief Executive of the library – Damy Lynne Brindley – sees this scheme as an extension of the original ambitions of the predecessor to the library in the 19th century – which was to make knowledge available to the masses.
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“The way of doing it then was to buy books from the entire world and to make them available in reading rooms.
“We… 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.”