ArtistBooks EU Makes 50 Years of Historical Documents Available Online for FreeAt the world’s largest book fair in Frankfurt, the European Union officially launched the EU Bookshop’s digital library, an archive of 50 years of documents in about 50 different languages, all available online for free.

Roughly 110,000 publications or 12 million pages — the equivalent of four kilometres (2.5 miles) of bookshelves — were scanned from EU archives from February 2008 at a cost of about 2.5 million euros (3.75 million dollars).

Around 140,000 publications are available online today, with 1,500 “born digital” ones to be added each year.

Now, anyone can now download these files dating back to 1952 when six countries created what is now the 27-member EU.

The project highlights “the commitment of the European Union to preserve and encourage the history of the union in its linguistic diversity,” Commissioner of Multilinguism Leonard Orban told the AFP.

The library’s contents will also be a part of Europeana, a very impressive site we’ve written about before and devoted to all things European.