Monday, February 8, 2010

Digitization of 19th Century Works at the British Library [News]

The British Library has been working for three years on a project to digitize parts of its 19th century collection. Around 65,000 titles are supposed to be available for download for free this Spring. The project was funded in part by the library's annual government grant, and "a very generous amount" from Microsoft.
I'm sure you're asking, "What's the big deal? All of these titles are already likely to be available via Google Books or Project Gutenberg, right?" Wrong. An estimated 35-40% of the titles included in the project rare ones that are unique to the library's collection. Additionally, these digitizations are scans of the actual rare texts hosted in the British Library. Original Dickens and Austen will now be viewable with their original illustrations and typesetting.

I am a Paper Book Whore, but I think I would enjoy the ability to see what some of these originals really look like, even if they are digital facsimiles. The digital rendering is probably the closest I'll get to them in my lifetime.

What do you think?

[via Times Online, tipped off by a friend!]


SophiesMark said...

We need more projects like this to get all the treasures out there for everyone to see.

I Heart Monster said...

I agree! MORE originals digitized would definitely be a good thing.