Digitising our early European printed books: two years on

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By | Digital Developments, Early Medicine

Two years on from the start of our early European printed books digitisation with ProQuest, we’re one third of the way through the project, with 4,649 volumes imaged as of today, and 2,447 books available to view for free from within the UK on the ProQuest Early European Books site.

The Library’s relationship with ProQuest and their imaging contractor Numen (formerly Diadeis) has been extremely productive – out of all the distinguished libraries participating in the Early European Books project, ProQuest chose to film their promotional video for the project right here with us (see above), interviewing Richard Aspin, our Head of Research and Scholarship, interspersed with footage from the Numen workshop on-site.

If all goes to plan, the project should be complete in around four years, digitising all of the Library’s early printed books published outside of the UK before 1700. The Library also has plans for serving up this content. As part of our arrangement with ProQuest, 10% of the total number of books digitised may be made available by the Library via its digital player. Selection of this material is already underway as we await the first delivery of images from ProQuest.

World map from 1534

Map of the world published in Benedetto Bordone’s Isolario (The Book of Islands, “where we discuss about all islands of the world, with their ancient and modern names, histories, tales and way of living…”) printed in 1534. Wellcome Library EPB 982/D.



Matt Brack

Matt Brack was Digitisation Project Manager at the Wellcome Library.

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