The British library has agreed a deal to allow search engine Google to index and produce links to the library’s vast collection.
The library is home to some 150m individual items covering virtually every country and language. Including around 14m books – second only to the USA’s Library of Congress – and it holds some 920,000 journal and newspaper titles.
Internet users will be able to view, search and copy the huge volume of out-of-copyright works for free for the first time on the internet.
The deal, a “strategic partnership,” is said to be announced at a press conference this morning hosted by Dame Lynne Brindley, the chief executive of the reading institution and Google head of external relations, Peter Barron.
The deal is not financial and it is acknowledged that Google will be entirely responsible for the cost of the digitalisation.
Google holds similar arrangement with 40 libraries across the globe and as it is only covering non-copyrighted texts it shouldn’t encounter the legal difficulties it faced with the likes of the Authors Guild of America.