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Over 56,000 early printed books from Leiden University’s collection available through Google Books Library Project

Over 56,000 books from Leiden University’s library (UBL) have been digitised and made accessible online in the past year. All books were published in the Netherlands before 1876 and are free of copyright. They are now freely available worldwide via Leiden University’s catalogue, Google Books and Delpher. The books were digitised and made accessible in collaboration with the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) and Google.

Mass digitisation project
Having started a mass digitisation project more than ten years ago, Google has since made some 30 million titles available online. The KB has been working towards the online availability of all books published in the Netherlands for a number of years. Some 235,000 books held by the KB were digitised and made available online from 2010 to 2014. To provide a comprehensive range of material, the KB also approached university libraries in the Netherlands. The UBL has made available over 56,000 books, a significant proportion of which relate to material from the former Dutch East Indies and pamphlets dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Leiden University collections
The UBL holds and manages the largest collection of medieval manuscripts in the Netherlands, the oldest and most comprehensive photo collection nationwide, large and important collections of early printed books, maps, prints, drawings, archives, manuscripts and letters.  The collections on the Middle East and on Asia are internationally renowned and include the foremost collections on Indonesia worldwide. UNESCO has added two Indonesian manuscripts from the UBL collections to the ‘Memory of the World Register’.

Availability
The UBL seeks to digitise and make its collections available online for education and research purposes. Over a million scans have been made so far. The collaboration with Google and the KB serves to accelerate the digitisation of Leiden University’s collections. The project has been created with support from the University of Leiden and Stichting Pica, an organisation that promotes public information supply on a systematic basis by financing projects. The Dutch East Indies books will also be made available through the Digital Indonesian Library, which UBL will be developing in collaboration with external partners in the coming years.

Over 56,000 books from Leiden University library have been digitised and made accessible online in the past year. These books were published in the Netherlands before 1876 and are free of copyright. All books are freely available worldwide via Leiden University’s catalogue, Google Books and Delpher.