by Daniel Goldstein — April 10, 2020
by Daniel Goldstein — April 10, 2020

HISTORY: Free Digitized Book Collections

by Daniel Goldstein – April 10, 2020

For basic questions, your fastest option is 24/7 Chat Reference.
I am available as well. Email me ( with your questions or to set up an appointment via Zoom.

This is a list of just some of the major (usually collaborative) book digitization projects. Many libraries, museums and other institutions are digitizing and making freely available the historical treasures in their collections.   So in addition to the collaborative projects listed here,  it is worth investigating the Web sites of relevant libraries and museums to see what they might have to offer.  There are also many books included in the library’s licensed resources; these are listed in the relevant Subject Guides.

Many other digitized ebook collections have been made temporarily available during the Covid-19 crisis.  Explore on you own or contact me if you have questions about any of them.

Daniel Goldstein

Research Support
Researcher Services Librarian


This is a collection of books digitized by major US research libraries. Although there is significant overlap with Google books, this site has a much more effective and sophisticated search interface. Like Google books, some of the scanned titles are not actually viewable. The titles in this collection (both the full view and restricted ones) are cataloged in Melvyl.

Direct access to several million digital objects: film, photos, paintings, sound recordings, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers, and archival papers. Selected from previously digitized resources available in Europe’s museums, libraries, archives, and audio-visual collections.  French and German cultural institutions are particularly well represented.

One of the world’s most advanced digital library collections, providing online access to millions of books, periodicals, images, videos, maps, sound files, manuscripts, and scores. Searchable in basic or advanced modes, and browsable by publication type. Originally an attempt to provide coverage of the Bibliotheque Nationale’s vast holdings in French literature from the Middle Ages to the present, it now has digital access partnerships with a number of other major library collections substantially increasing its offerings. Includes links to other relevant sites.

This site allows you to search through the holdings of the National Libraries of European countries. You can limit your search easily by type of material, including digitized books, images,or exhibits. You can also select which countries’ libraries you want to search.

“The CERL Portal provides access to distributed databases containing manuscripts materials, printed works, photographic material and other special materials. The focus lies on manuscripts materials, but the Heritage of the Printed Book Database (HPB) and the English Short-Title Catalogue can be included in the search as well.” Some of the items listed here have been scanned and are available full-text from the owning libraries.