Books from 16th and 17th centuries now in full-color view

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 2:00 PM

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.

Printing was introduced in the 15th century, but a great flowering of experimentation in typography took place in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Secunda centuria, das ist das ander Hundert der Evangelischen Wahrheit
Johann Nass, 1568

Thargum, hoc est, Paraphrasis Onkeli Chaldaica in sacra Biblia : ex Chaldaeo
Paul Fagius, 1546

Some have great historical significance. Others have interesting typography and wood block illustrations. The links open thumbnail versions of each book (icons with 4 little squares). You get other views by clicking on nearby icons; from the thumbnail view, you can click on a page to expand it.

Below are links to a few more of these 16th and 17th century books now available in full-color view in Google Books:

Prognostication nouvelle et prediction portenteuse, pour l'an M. D. L. V.
Nostradamus, 1554
The first year of his prophecies, provided for scanning by the Municipal Library of Lyon.

Description de l'abbaye de la Trappe
André Félibien, 1689
A description of La Trappe Abbey in Soligny-la-Trappe, Orne, France. Authored by André Félibien, a French chronicler of the arts and official court historian to Louis XIV of France.

Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae: Usitata forma Quaestionum ..., Volumes 1-3
Johannes Kepler, 1635
The German astronomer’s textbook on astronomy (translated as Epitome of Copernican Astronomy); his most influential work.

Systema cosmicum : in quo dialogis IV. de duobus maximis mundi systematibus, Ptolemaico & Copernicano, rationibus vtrinque propositis indefinitè disseritur : accessit locorum S. Scripturae cum Terra mobilitate conciliatio
Galileo Galilei, 1641
Galileo's landmark work comparing Copernican heliocentrism with the geocentric Ptolemaic system. Engraved frontspiece of Aristotle, Ptolemy and Copernicus.

La operazione del compasso geometrico e militare
Galileo Galilei, 1640
Description of and manual on the operation of Galileo’s geometrical and military compass.

Tractatus de proportionum instrumento : quod merito compendium vniuersae geometriae dixeris
Galileo Galilei, 1635

Ioannis Kepleri ... Dioptrice seu Demonstratio eorum quae visui & visibilibus propter conspicilla non ita pridem inventa accidunt. Praemissae Epistolae Galilaei de iis, quae post editionem Nuncii siderii ope Perspicilli, nova & admiranda in coelo deprehensa sunt. Item Examen praefationis Ioannis Penae Galli in Optica Euclidis, de usu Optices in philosophia.
Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Jean Pena, 1611

Patris Gabrielis Vazquez ... Disputationes Metaphysicae …
Gabriel Vázquez, 1617

Relaciones universales del mundo ... : Primera y segunda parte
Giovanni Botero, 1603

La rhétorique ou l'art de parler
Bernard Lamy, 1699

Idea de vn principe politico christiano, representada en cien empressas …
Diego de Saavedra Fajardo, 1675

Idea de un principe politico christiano, representada en cien empresas, dedicada al principe de las Españas nuestro Señor …
Diego de Saavedra Fajardo, 1655

Pia desideria emblematis elegiis & affectibus S.S. Patrum illustrata
Herman Hugonus, 1624

Obsidio bredana armis Philippi IIII, auspiciis Isabellae ductu Ambr. Spinolae perfecta
Herman Hugo, 1626

Emblémes Ou Devises Chrétiennes


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