The British Library has announced a new deal with Google to digitize and make available some 250,000 books and other printed items. Google will handle the technical part and bear the costs, in return it will be able to make available all of the books on its Google Books site.
The same titles will also be available on the library's website and through the European digital library program, Europeana. This is part of Google's effort to digitize the world's books and is the latest such deal with a major library.
"The British Library and Google today announced a partnership to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the Library’s collections," the British Library announced.
"Selected by the British Library and digitised by Google, both organisations will work in partnership over the coming years to deliver this content free through Google Books and the British Library’s website. Google will cover all digitisation costs," it added.
Google will get access to books, but also periodicals and pamphlets from the period, starting from 1700 and up until 1870. The titles are written in a variety of European languages.
Google has been leading an effort to digitize the world's book archives and it needs libraries to do this, to provide it access to rare works.
Google has been offering to cover the costs of digitization, which are not small, in exchange for the right to add the books to its growing Google Books archive.
Users will then be able to search through the books, download them entirely or share them with friends. The books will also be available on the library's own site as well.
"Researchers, students and other users of the Library will be able to view historical items from anywhere in the world as well as copy, share and manipulate text for non-commercial purposes," the library added.
Of course, all of these books are in the public domain, meaning that anyone can do whatever they want with them and this includes selling copies, which makes the last part of the paragraph, which 'forbids' commercial use, disingenuous, uninformed or, at the very least, odd.