The British Library has over 20 years of experience digitising its collections. The mass digitisation of 19th century literature in partnership with Microsoft is one of fifteen British Library-led digitisation initiatives, currently taking place.
As part of the 19th century book project, the British Library has now successfully digitised 40,000 out-of-copyright items from its collections, including a range of authors such as Dickens, Eliot, Trollope and Hardy as well as many forgotten literary gems.
It is our intention that the material will be made available on the Library's catalogue after the completion of a pilot, which is currently providing access to over 1,100 books with more added on an incremental basis from St Pancras Reading Rooms.
Approximately 75,000 pages are being scanned daily by the digitisation studios at the British Library. A further 40,000 out-of-copyright books will be scanned as agreed in the Library's contract with Microsoft.
The British Library continues to work with Microsoft on projects that will support and benefit research. For instance 'Turning the Pages 2.0', enhanced by Windows Vista, offers researchers an opportunity to explore digitised versions of some of the world's greatest texts, combining a rich and life-like interaction with the text itself with a potential for collaborative international research.