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VIENNA — Austria's National Library said Tuesday it has struck a 30-million-euro deal with US Internet giant Google to digitise 400,000 copyright-free books, a vast collection spanning 400 years of European history.
Johanna Rachinger the head of the ONB library, (whom I met a year ago and had the opportunity to photograph), hailed what she called an "important step," arguing at a news conference that "there are few projects on such a scale elsewhere in Europe."
The Austrian library project concerns one of the world's five biggest collections of 16th- to 19th-century literature, totalling some 120 million pages, the ONB said in a statement.
Under the deal, Google will cover the costs of digitising the collection -- set at around 50 to 100 euros (60 to 120 dollars) per book -- a sum the library says it was unable to raise without external funding.