6:35pm

Mon June 20, 2011
The Two-Way

British Library, Google Strike Deal To Digitize Historic Books

In a deal with the British Library, Google will digitize some 250,000 books that date between 1700 and 1800. The BBC reports the partnership will allow readers to "view, search and copy the out-of-copyright works at no charge on both the library and Google books websites."

The BBC adds:

Library chief executive Dame Lynne Brindley said the scheme was an extension of the ambition of the library's predecessors in the 19th Century to provide access to knowledge to everyone.

"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."

As the AP reports, the new deal is another step in Google's plan to scan the world's estimated 130 million books.

In the United States, Google has faced opposition to its ambition. As we reported in March, a court rejected a deal between Google and publishers that would have allowed Google to continue digitizing books with the blessing of authors and publishers.

The AP reports that Google plans to digitize 40 million pages of the British Library during the next three years.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.