From a KU Leuven Announcement:
KU Leuven Libraries, KBR (Royal Library of Belgium) and Google signed agreements to share a large portion of important digitized documents reflecting the rich cultural and historical heritage located in the libraries. This entails several thousand works, some dating back to the 15th century, that will be made freely accessible in the coming years via Google Books and the institutions’ own library catalogues. Highlights are the printed works by professors of the University of Leuven published before the abolishment of the Old University in 1797, several thousands of works from the world’s largest collection of books printed in Brussels (15th-18th century) and recognised unique pieces such as the first work in Western literature dedicated exclusively to biographies of women.
The selected books have been previously scanned at the libraries and the digital versions will be sent over to Google’s data centers to be further enriched with data allowing the text to be searchable and machine readable. After this process is complete, Google will make the digital copies available on Google Books. “The KU Leuven Libraries and KBR will also keep a copy of the enriched data which will be incorporated into their own catalogue. The books that are part of this project are no longer subject to copyright”, explains Stefano Reccia, Partner Manager at Google for the digitisation project.
Among the selected documents are:
- Printed works by professors of the Old University of Leuven (1425-1797), digitised in the framework of the Lovaniensia project.
- Corble collection: collection of the British fencer Archibald Corble (1883-1944), one of the world’s most extensive collections on the history of fencing.
- A unique collection of 25,000 books printed in Brussels in the 17th and 18th centuries: the largest collection of old and rare books from the capital of the (Southern) Low Countries, with a strong emphasis on government publications in French, Dutch, Spanish and Latin.
- The most complete collection in the world of pamphlets and leaflets from the time of the Brabant revolution that led to the independent United States of Belgium (1789-1790), comprising nearly 7.000 items.