Ph.D. resources: The European Library
The European Library (version 2.1) is less a “free online book” source than a tool that helps you organize and coordinate your search for certain books across Europe (but it has an overview on accessible digital collections, too).
The main service that the European Library offers is a search across national borders for publications and material, with the possibility to focus on specific types and locations – you can look for images or for maps, through the big national catalogs or just through the catalogs of one country. You can focus on digital editions, on manuscripts or music (both audio and printed) or on theses and dissertations.
The really strong point, however, is the chance to access all national catalogs at once (occasional skips notwithstanding – it’s a lot of catalogs to contact and display!).
The interface is simple and minimalist; in case of confusion, there’s a video tutorial and a support section (accessible via the title bar).
And if you have some spare time (or want to procrastinate a little), the European library also offers a virtual photo tour of the participating national libraries. How about a little trip to the Austrian National Library in Vienna?
[Photo Credit: Pez Hejduk via The European Library]
Now if someone could please bring a coffee to go with that red carpet and with the next set of tomes I’m trying to localize…