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Digitising the UG Library collections


A large number of books from the collection of the University of Groningen Library, not in the possession of other libraries, is selected for digitising and digital access by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB, the Dutch national library). Another number of titles has been selected for digitisation by Google. Free digital access to these publicly financed titles results in them being conserved for the long term. It makes the titles digitally and physically available for the future.

This digitisation project consists of two subprojects:

  1. Metamorfoze: 20.604 titles
    Metamorfoze is the national programme aiming to conserve the vulnerable paper heritage; it is maintained by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.
    It concerns titles from 1900-1940, produced in the Netherlands or in the Dutch language, and not yet digitised elsewhere.
  2. Google: 14.684 titles
    Heritage libraries, among which the University of Groningen Library, get the opportunity in this project to make available large parts of their (copyrights-free) collections. Several tens of thousands of volumes from other Dutch university libraries, the Rijksmuseum and Tresoar are digitised also. Here it concerns books published until 1900, produced in the Netherlands or in the Dutch language, and not yet digitised elsewhere.

Optimal services

The more than 35,000 titles from Groningen are being digitised between 2017 and 2019. The books are transported to the KB in several batches, and from that moment will be unavailable for about six months. Still, the UL will try to facilitate its users as much as possible in consulting the books from this batch:

  • When a book is selected for digitisation, this will be announced in its catalogue record.
  • Do you still want to consult the book (which at that moment is not for loan), we ask you to notify us via We will then inform you whether this book has already been moved to The Hague, or maybe still present in Groningen. In that case, you can consult the book in the Special Collections department (3rd floor of the UL City Centre).
  • Is direct consultation not enough for you, then there is the possibility to scan (parts of) the book in our own scanning facility in UL City Centre.


The University Library is aware of the fact that titles from our collection being not available for a longer period, can cause great inconvenience to our users. However, we find it very important that this collection of unique titles is being digitised. When this project is finished, hundreds of thousands of books will be available to the library user nationally and internationally without restrictions, among others on platforms like Delpher and Google Books.


Last modified:01 September 2017 11.18 a.m.
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