As one of the first national libraries worldwide, the Austrian National Library digitises and makes available online its complete holdings of historical books from the 16th to the second half of the 19th century – one of the five internationally most important historical book collections.
The project is carried out in a Public Private Partnership with Google. Some 600.000 volumes of public domain works are being made available successively, free of charge, for non-commercial purposes. The digitized items can be found via theDigital Library of the Austrian National Library and Google Books. Furthermore, it is planned to make the digital books available via Europeana, the European digital library.
Users can find the digitised books in the Austrian National Library’s online catalogue (http://search.obvsg.at/ONB/de_DE) and are able to access the digital volumes via a single push of a button, perform full-text searches, read them online or download the entire works.
The Austrian National Library follows the examples of other renowned libraries like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford or the Bavarian State Library which have already been collaborating with Google in “Google’s Book Search Programme” for several years. Google funds the digitisation of the entire book collection of about 200 Mio pages, the Austrian National Library meets the expenses for the preparation of the books and for storing and making available the digital copies in its digital library.
As in many cases it will no longer be necessary to access the original books, this project can also contribute to the protection of the Austrian National Library’s precious historical book collection. The Austrian National Library archives the digital copies in its digital repository.
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