Search engine giant Google and the British Library are joining forces to make approximately 250,000 antique books available online. The literary works are all dated from 1700 to 1870, and are out of copyright. The British Library have selected the books which are to be digitised by Google, with one of the initial works published being a pamphlet about Marie Antoinette. The plans for one of the first submarines created in 1858 by Narciso Monturiol, Spanish inventor will also be digitised.
According to Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, it was an objective in the 19th century to make books available to everyone, and not just the rich who could afford a private library. Books were obtained and placed in public reading rooms, to make information accessible to all. The British Library believe that their partnership with Google to make the antique books available online, will allow anyone to read, any place and at any time. It is hoped that the collection of antique books combined with the technology and expertise of Google will carry on this tradition.
As the books are digitised, they will be available on Google Books and the website of the British Library. Peter Barron, Google’s director of external relations, 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.”
More usual antiques can easily be found without the technology of the Internet. Furniture, including Victorian dining chairs can be located around the UK with ease, from Scotland to Lancashire.
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