KBR to put thousands of books and historic documents online on Google Books

KBR, KU Leuven Libraries and Google signed agreements to share a large portion of important digitised documents reflecting the rich cultural and historical heritage of Belgium. Several thousand works, dating back to the 17th – 19th century, will be made freely accessible in the coming years via Google Books and KBR’s own library catalogue. The collaboration will start in the course of 2022.

The corpus

Among the selected documents are:

  • 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.
  • 32,000 brochures, leaflets, catalogues, almanacs and other ephemera in various languages and on various topics (such as art, poetry, theatre, history, politics, medicine, travels, daily life) printed in the 19th centuries around the world.

Why work with Google?

This collaboration will increase the visibility of KBR’s digitised collections on the web.

The selected books have been previously scanned at KBR’s digitisation lab and the digital versions will be further enriched by Google 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.

Some of the selected books