More than 160.000 public domain books from the 18th and 19th centuries to be scanned and made freely available to public via Google Books, KB websites and Europeana
Den Haag, 14 July 2010 – Bas Savenije, director general of the KB, national library of the Netherlands and Philippe Colombet, European Strategic Partnerships Manager at Google, signed an agreement today under which Google will digitise more than 160.000 out-of-copyright (public domain) books from the library’s collection. The books will be fully searchable and accessible for free via Google Books, via the various KB websites and – at a later date – via the European Union’s Europeana portal.
The books to be scanned constitute the majority of the library’s public domain collection, and form an important addition to the corpus of public domain books that has already been digitised and made searchable in Google Books. The collection includes a wide range of historical, legal and social works published in the Netherlands during the 18th and 19th centuries and will be of great interest to scholars and researchers in the Dutch-speaking world and around the globe [See below for examples of works that will be scanned].
Earlier this year, the KB announced its ambition to digitise all Dutch books, newspapers and periodicals from 1470 onwards. The agreement between the KB and Google is part of the KB’s strategy to realise this ambition, and complements the library’s own digitisation initiatives. The KB’s agreement with Google follows on the heels of similar digitisation partnerships between Google and institutions including Harvard University, Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, the Italian Ministry of Culture and the National Libraries of Italy in Rome and Florence and the Austrian National Library.
Bas Savenije, director general of the KB said: “As the national library of the Netherlands, the KB is responsible for giving anyone, anywhere in the world, digital access to everything published in and about the Netherlands. With millions of items in our collection, this is no small task and the partnership with Google gives us the unique opportunity to accelerate the digitisation process, increase the discoverability of the collection and improve access and usage of a unique body of 18th and 19th century scientific, legal and social works.”
Philippe Colombet, European Strategic Partnerships Manager, Google, said: “The partnership with the KB is another step in helping make the world’s books searchable and accessible for anyone with a connection to the Internet. We’re delighted to be able to help accelerate the work that the KB is already doing to make Dutch cultural heritage digitally accessible – via Google Books, via their own website, and at a later date, via the work they do with the European Union’s Europeana portal.”
Scanning will take place over a number of years, and after digitisation, the books will be returned to the KB so that they can be made available again in the reading room.