Google has formed partnerships with many of the great libraries of Europe, including the Czech National Library, the National Library of the Netherlands, the Austrian National Library, the National Libraries of Florence and Rome, the Municipal Library of Lyon, Ghent University, the Bavarian State Library, the National Library of Catalonia, the University Complutense of Madrid, the University Library of Lausanne and the Oxford University Library.To date, we’ve scanned about 150,000 books worldwide from the 16th and 17th centuries, and another 450,000 from the 18th century. With our growing list of partners, we expect to scan many hundreds of thousands more pre-1800 titles.In digitizing books from any century, we try to create clean images with black text and color illustrations on white backgrounds. This helps enhance readability, save storage spaces and serve illustrated pages faster to readers. However, partners, researchers and other readers have frequently asked us to show the older books as they actually appear, for a couple of reasons: First, these books are interesting artifacts. They have changed their appearance over the centuries, and there is a cultural value in viewing them. Second, because of aging and bleed-through, it can be very difficult to display the images as clean text over a white background; in many cases it’s actually easier to read the text from the original (what we call “full-color”) images.
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