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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday October 8, 2014

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

How to make Europe’s cultural heritage more open

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The collection includes landmarks in the history of modern thought such as texts by Martin Luther as well as insights into more everyday life, from historic cookbooks to children’s spelling books. Another highlight is the library of Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of the most successful military commanders in Europe’s modern history and one of the most ambitious book collectors of his time.

The Austrian National Library is the first library in Europe to share a collection that has been digitised as part of the Google Books project under the new rights statement.

It is the first step toward creating a truly pan-European collection of books digitised in partnership with leading libraries and Google, available to the public via

Through Austrian Books Online, the Austrian National Library's public-private partnership with Google, the library is currently digitising and making available its complete holdings of historical books from the 16th to the second half of the -19th century. About 600,000 volumes will be available to the public via Europeana in high quality format. The first 150,000 are now online.

Thanks to the introduction of the new rights label 'Out of copyright - non-commercial re-use' (OOC-NC), the Austrian National Library and Google can now share this unique collection also via Europeana. The rights statement means that books that are out of copyright and digitised through public-private partnerships are clearly marked as being freely available to the public for non-commercial re-use for a limited time and available for unrestricted re-use after that period.

The label supports Europeana's Public Domain Charter and underlines the importance of openness and re-use, while recognising the role of public-private partnerships in supporting digitisation. As a result of the new statement, in the future millions of books that otherwise would not have been available via Europeana can be read by readers worldwide: Other libraries across Europe that have digitised collections through Google Books or other private public partnerships will also be able to make collections available via Europeana using the OOC-NC rights label.

The new rights statement was developed through the Europeana Network, with input from Google, the Austrian National Library and other European libraries involved in the Google books project.

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana said: ´We are so pleased to be able to announce this result. It provides a fair balance between the need to pay for the digitisation of our cultural heritage, supported so strongly by Google, and the desire to make sure that the public can use the material widely in connection with other parts of our diverse and rich European history.´

Johanna Rachinger, Director General of the Austrian National Library, said: 'With our major digitisation project Austrian Books Online we would like to contribute to the democratisation of knowledge. I am delighted that these books can now be found also in Europeana.

Ben Bunnell, Google Library Partnerships said: ´We set up the Google Books Library project to help make the printed record of human history more available to the world. Including links on Europeana helps more people find and use these materials, complementing the access provided on libraries' websites and on


Notes for Editors:

Europeana collaborates with thematic platforms featuring specific focus on: films (EFG; archival material (Archives Poral Europe; and books (The European Library Austrian Books Online was made available through the enhancement of The European Library.

The Austrian National Library collection available on Europeana includes such treasures as:

A volume from Prince Eugene of Savoy's collection:

Naturalis historiae libri XXXVII. Interpretatione et notis illustravit. Joannes Harduinus (Tomus 1) Plinius Secundus, Gaius, 23-79

Parisiis: Franc. Muguet; 1685


The first known published Slovenian Grammar:

Arcticae horulae succisivae de Latino-Carniolana Literatura ad latinae linguae analogiam accomodata unde moskoviticae, polonicae, boemicae et Lusaticae et lingrae cum dalmatica et croatica cognatio facile deprehenditur.

Bohoric, Adam

Witebergae: 1584


A richly illustrated volume by the 18th century Austrian botanist Nicolaus Joseph von Jacquin.

Miscellanea Austriaca ad botanicam, chemiam et historiam naturalem spectantia, cum figuris partim coloratis. (Ex. Prunksaal, Vol.1)

Jacquin, Nikolaus Joseph <<von>>, 1727-1817

Vindobonae: Kraus; 1778-1781


Dance of Death illustrated by Hans Holbein the Younger:

Simolachri, historie, e figure de la morte. La medicina de l'anima. Il modo e la via di consolar gl'infermi. Un sermone di san Cipriano de la mortalita ... Un sermone di S. Giovanni Chrisistomo che ci essorta a patienza. A Juntovi di nuovo molte figure (Enth. außerdem: Sermone intitolato de la immortalita / Caecilius Cyprianus ; Sermone il quale ci esorta a pacienza / Johannes Chrysostomus)

Holbein, Hans der Jüngere; Cyprianus, Thascius Caecilius, 200-258; Chrysostomus, Johannes

Lyone: Giovanni Frellone; 1549


The Austrian National Library

The Austrian National Library is the biggest library of Austria. As the country’s central academic library it looks back over a history rich in tradition going as far as the 14th century. Today it is a modern centre of information and research oriented toward serving the public, as well as an outstanding national memory institution and a many-sided centre of education and culture. Its historic holdings make it one of the most important libraries in the world. For more information please go to


Europeana aims to transform Europe through culture. We are a network, representing more than 2,500 cultural heritage organisations and a thousand individuals from the cultural and creative sectors, passionate about bringing Europe’s cultural heritage to the world.  Our goal is to make this vast cultural heritage available online so that anyone can use it for work, education or pleasure. To achieve this ambition, Europeana works with libraries, archives, audiovisual collections, museums and the public to collect and offer free access to more than 30 million authenticated works of art, texts, audio and film clips. By making these assets available digitally ( and through the Europeana API ( Europeana acts as a platform that helps people to share, view, and find new  ways to use and re-use heritage, encouraging innovation, creativity and a greater understanding of our shared history.