A first for France: the City of Lyon and Google partner up to digitize books

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 10:19 AM

As a native of Lyon, France, I often visited the Municipal Library of Lyon during my student days. I was always impressed by the building itself, and of course by the books that the library tower housed. I never imagined what technology could make it possible for anyone to access those books like I could.

That's why I'm so excited to announce that Lyon, France's 2nd largest city, has made this renowned library the first French library to join the Google Book Search Library Project--the result of a shared vision between Google, Head Librarian Patrick Bazin, and the Mayor of Lyon, Gérard Collomb. Thanks to this relationship, Lyon and Google will digitize close to 500,000 public domain books and make them available free of charge.

As Google Book Search's representative in the French-speaking world, it is particularly satisfying to see a revered local institution such as the Municipal Library of Lyon build a relationship that will last for many years to the benefit of students, researchers and readers around the world.

Since the Renaissance, the city of Lyon has been a center for making and selling books across Europe. The Lyon region was even a cradle for the early success of Diderot’s 18th century Encyclopedia, an unmatched effort to compile all human knowledge at the time. This rich past is reflected in the library's collections, which include rare works by 16th century writers Maurice Scève and Nostradamus, scientific treaties such as the first edition of the Principia of Newton as well as the Des Fontaines Jesuit collection, a unique series of works reflecting the ideas and intellectual heritage of the Jesuit Order around the world.

On behalf on the Book Search team, we welcome the Municipal Library of Lyon to the Book Search project.


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