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Wellcome Library Partners With ProQuest to Digitize Early European Books
The Wellcome Library has announced a partnership with ProQuest, U.K. to digitize more than 15,000 volumes from the library’s rare book collection as part of the Wellcome Digital Library pilot project. The collection will be made available through ProQuest’s new Early European Books (EEB) database, a sister project to the Early English Books Online.
EEB will trace the history of printing in continental Europe from its origins up to 1700. A number of other libraries have already contributed to the project, including the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze. The Library will contribute its entire collection of pre-1700 non-English printed books. This includes many rare texts on subjects ranging from alchemy to zoology.
Unlike other parts of the pilot project, which are being fully funded by the Wellcome Library, this partnership will involve a significant investment from ProQuest. In return for access to the collection, ProQuest will make the entire collection freely available to all U.K.-based users, and to users in the HINARI group of developing countries. Wellcome Library members will have free access to the collection from anywhere in the world. In addition, 10% of the collection will be selected by the Wellcome Library to be made freely available to any user worldwide via the Wellcome Digital Library portal. As part of the project, previously uncatalogued (and hence unavailable) material is also being included, giving the new database complete coverage of the library’s pre-1700 European holdings.
By partnering with ProQuest, the Wellcome Library hopes that users of its collection will benefit from the ability to see works in a broader historical context, and from the development of tools such as text recognition that are adapted to the challenges of early European printing—benefits that it is unlikely to be able to replicate, at least in the short term, within its own digital library.
Source: Wellcome Library
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