Google goes to Rome

AP has this excellent news:

Google says it will scan up to 1 million old books in national libraries in Rome and Florence, including works by astronomer Galileo Galilei, in what’s being described as the first deal of its kind. …

Culture Ministry official Mario Resca says the deal will help save the books’ content forever.

Resca said the 1966 Florence flood ruined thousands of books in the Tuscan city’s library. He said digitizing books from before 1868 will help spread Italian culture throughout the world.

Google will cover the costs of the scanning of the books, all of them out-of-copyright Italian works, including 19th-century literature and 18th-century scientific volumes.

Well done, the Italians.  Suddenly we will all be able to read a whole load of material that no-one could ever see.

4 thoughts on “Google goes to Rome

  1. A great move as Italian is clearly underrepresented in Google Books.. French was late out of the gates too and then around a year ago the offerings expanded exponentially and then German. Now there is a lot of useful material particularly old journals…

  2. Re: Google Books stats

    I thought it was interesting that they only (only!) had 2 million public domain things. Although whether that counts stuff they’ve misclassified… um. Anyway, they said 35% of those got touched every month, which is pretty good.

    Re: Italian library

    I’m really looking forward to this. Not that I can read Italian, of course; but there are a few things I’d like to see. The section on vampires in Benedict XIV’s book on sainthood investigations, for example.

    (Well, he had this friend who’d written a very popular book on vampires. So the topic sorta came up.)

    (Yeah… there’s probably more learned examples for me to have come up with.)

  3. We don’t know what they will get. But there may be unexpected pleasures. No-one ever uses these offline books, because it is so hard to access them. Consequently we may well find all sorts of stuff that has lain forgotten for centuries.

    As for language — Google has a plan for that too!

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