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You are here: Home Slavonic Library Academic Activities, Publications Digitisation and Microfilming The Mass Digitisation of Historical and Rare Documents in Cooperation with Google

The Mass Digitisation of Historical and Rare Documents in Cooperation with Google

In 2011–2018, the Slavonic Library participated in the extensive project of the National Library of the Czech Republic and Google called ‘The Mass Digitisation of Historical and Rare Documents in Cooperation with Google’. It aim was to digitise selected parts of the historical book collections of the National Library of the CR (it did not concern historical manuscripts).

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The following documents from the collections of the Slavonic Library were selected for digitisation:

  • historical early printed books published before 1800;
  • the book production of the 19th century published more than 140 years ago (which Google considers public domain);
  • the books published less than 140 years ago but before 1900 in whose case it was possible to prove that they were public domain works (copyright information on all creators of the work concerned must be available in the national authority database – the AUT database).

Before the actual digitisation, all selected documents from the collections of the Slavonic Library were recatalogued and examined by restorers, which also involved cleaning and minor restoration work when necessary. The programme excluded documents in bad condition, for which the digitisation method implemented by Google would have meant a physical threat, damage or destruction.

 

The project made it possible to digitise the entire collection of early printed books from the Slavonic Library, almost the whole historical library of Russian literature collected by Alexandr F. Smirdin, most of the documents from the collection of Milan Rešetar, focused on Dubrovnik, extensive sets of books of Polish provenance from the collections of Tomasz Ruśkiewicz, Eugeniusz Barwiński and thousands of other documents. In total, approximately 37,500 documents (including ca 4,100 early printed books published before 1800) from the Slavonic Library were digitised.

All documents included in the project are public domain, which means that their digital copies may be freely accessible on the internet.

The digital copies of the documents are accessible:

  • on the website of the Google Books project;
  • early printed books published before 1800 are gradually made accessible in the digital library of manuscripts and early printed books Manuscriptorium;
  • works from the 19th century are going to be accessible in the Kramerius digital library.

Links to the digital copies form part of the cataloguing records in the online catalogue of the Slavonic Library (the SLK database) and in the Union Catalogue of the Czech Republic (the SKC database).

Feb 25, 2019
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