British Library Digitization Project

Old BooksA nice story on the BBC website today about the digitization & online publication of more than 100,000 19th century books by the British Library.

Not that the digitization of paper is new to anyone here at Slaw, but the girth of the project is certainly worth noting:

“At full production approximately 50,000 pages per working day will be scanned.”


“Approximately 30 terabytes of storage will be required to accommodate the project’s output.

The first 25 million pages are expected to take two years to complete. Texts which are hard to get hold of will particularly benefit from the digitisation.”

Creating surrogate copies is an area that Google & Microsoft are currently competing (this one will be accessible with Microsoft’s Live Search Books); but regardless of who’s behind it, it is great to see volumes that were previously unavailable get added to the public web.


  1. In an article in the Observer, Lynne Brindley, the chief executive of the British Library, worries that potential funding cuts could threaten the efficiency of the library.