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New York Public Library and Kirtas Technologies Partner to Make 500,000 Public-Domain Books Available to the World

ROCHESTER, N.Y., SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 – Readers and researchers looking for hard-to-find books now have the opportunity to dip into the collections of one of the world’s most comprehensive libraries to purchase digitized copies of public domain titles. Through their Digitize-on-Demand program, Kirtas Technologies has partnered with The New York Public Library to make 500,000 public domain works from the Library’s collections available (to anyone in the world).
“New technology has allowed the Library to greatly expand access to its collections,” said Paul LeClerc, President of The New York Public Library. “Now, for the first time, library users are able to order copies of specific items from our vast public domain collections that are useful to them. Additionally the program creates a digital legacy for future users of the same item and a revenue stream to support our operations. We are very pleased to participate in a program that is so beneficial to everyone involved."

Using existing information from NYPL’s catalog records, Kirtas will make the library’s public domain books available for sale through its retail site before they are ever digitized. Customers can search for a desired title on and place an order for that book. When the order is placed, only then is it pulled from the shelf, digitized and made available as a high-quality reprint or digital file.

What makes this approach to digitization unique is that NYPL incurs no up-front printing, production or storage costs. It also provides the library with a self-funding, commercial model helping it to sustain its digitization programs in the future. Unlike other free or low-cost digitization programs, the library retains the rights and ownership to their own digitized content.

Whether patrons are looking for a title about a president—such as, Memories of President Lincoln, by Walt Whitman—or by a president—African Game Trails; An account of the African wanderings of an American hunter-naturalist, by Theodore Roosevelt—The New York Public Library is the place to turn. Collections available on are from NYPL’s General Research Division and include books from the local and U.S. history, genealogy, humanities and social sciences collections. Titles include several 19th century cookbooks, a first print edition of Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer, The Origin of the Werewolf Superstition (1909) by Caroline Taylor, and first edition version of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick from 1851.

“The New York Public Library is an iconic institution that represents strength, history and knowledge,” said Kirtas Founder and CEO Lotfi Belkhir. “We’re honored to be partnering with them to help make their collections available to the world.”

Kirtas currently has 13 partnerships with universities and public libraries to make special collections available for sale online. Virtually any library with a modern records database and valuable collections can participate in the Digitize on Demand program.

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-seven branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at

About Kirtas Technologies
Kirtas Technologies has pioneered and perfected the technology used today in quality, high-speed, nondestructive mass digitization. A proven workflow ensuring superior image quality, advanced search capabilities, unique archiving technology, and extensive metadata enabling multiple output options that stand the test of time are what set us apart and keep Kirtas at the forefront of the digital revolution. Learn more at
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Kirtas Contacts
Deanna Vincent
585-924-2420 x3037
[email protected]

Todd Whiting
585-924-2420 x2248
[email protected]

NYPL Contact
Jonathan Pace
Phone: 212-592-7700
[email protected]

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