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Google and KB team up on book digitisation

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The National Library of the Netherlands, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), has begun a partnership with Google Book Search. In addition to the library's own digitisation efforts, Google will be scanning more than 160,000 of KB's public domain books, and making this collection available globally via Google Books.

The library will receive copies of the scans so that they can also be viewed via the library's website. It also plans to make the digitised works available via Europeana, Europe's cultural portal.

The books being scanned constitute nearly the library's entire collection of out-of-copyright books, written during the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection covers a tumultuous period of Dutch history, which saw the establishment of the country's constitution and its parliamentary democracy. This move will help KB's own scanning programme, which aims to make all of its Dutch books, newspapers and periodicals from 1470 onwards available online.

This is the third agreement Google has announced in Europe this year, following news of projects with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Austrian National Library.

'It's exciting to note just how many libraries and cultural ministries are now looking to preserve and improve access to their collections by bringing them online. Much of humanity's cultural, historical, scientific and religious knowledge, collected and curated over centuries, sits in Europe's libraries, and it's great to see that we are all striving towards the same goal of improving access to knowledge for all,' commented at Google Book Search, in a blog post.

'Google and other technology companies have an important role to play in achieving this goal, and we hope that by partnering with major European cultural institutions such as the Dutch national library, we will be able to accelerate the rapid growth of Europe's digital library,' he added.