The British Library today announced a partnership with Google that will allow the company access to digitize over 250,000 items from the library's vast collection of work produced between 1700-1870.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the British Library, that automatically receives a copy of every book and periodical to go on sale in the United Kingdom and Ireland, joins around 40 libraries worldwide in allowing Google to digitize part of its collection and make it freely available and searchable online, at books.google.co.uk and the British Library website.
The new collection will contain only works that are out of copyright under European law. The collection will be selected according to theme, and will go online over the next three years. Google will undertake the digitization process at its own facility, whose location a Google spokesman declined to reveal, for security reasons.
As well as published books, the 1700-1870 collection will also contain pamphlets and periodicals from across Europe.
The article goes on to say that back in 2009, the British Library pulled out of negotiations with Google, saying "Ultimately the ownership should be fully taken back into the British Library so that we can then offer it via our website to the British taxpayer for free. We couldn't at the time achieve that with Google." The library seems to have had a change of heart this year though, saying, "This is a fixed contract that gives us huge freedom."
Details on the length of the deal or cost to Google have not been released.