Thousands of pages from one of the world's biggest collections of historic books, pamphlets and periodicals are to be made available on the internet. The British Library has reached a deal with search engine Google about 250,000 texts dating back to the 18th Century.

It will allow readers to view, search and copy the out-of-copyright works at no charge on both the library and Google books websites. The library gets more than a million visitors a year.

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