British Library joins Google to digitise 250,000 books for search and download

The British Library and Google have signed a partnership to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the Library's collections.

The British Library and Google have signed a partnership to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the Library's collections.

Google will cover all the costs of digitising the British Library's books.

The content will be delivered free through Google Books and the British Library's website. The move follows the search giant's partnerships with 40 other libraries around the world.

Once digitised, the items will be available for full text search, download and reading through Google Books and the Library's website.

The works will be viewed from anywhere in the world and available to copy, share and manipulate for non-commercial purposes.

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

Peter Barron, director of external relations at Google, said: "This public domain material is an important part of the world's heritage and we're proud to be working with the British Library to open it up to millions of people in the UK and abroad."

Professor Colin Jones, president of the Royal Historical Society, added that digitisation will benefit research processes. "Digitisation gives us the freedom to not only do this quickly and remotely, but also enhances the quality and depth of the original," he said.

The move follows the British Library's plans to concentrate on digital media. Lynne Brindley previously said only 25% of all titles worldwide will be published in print form alone by 2020.

"Our research suggests that, as use of mobile devices become ubiquitous, users will expect seamless access to information and services, and will assume that everything is available on the web," Brindley said.

Last year the British Library announced a partnership with IT firm brightsolid to digitise up to 40 million pages of its newspaper collections. The British Library has also worked with Microsoft to digitise 65,000 19th century books, some of which are now available as an app on iPads.

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