Danish books (1701-1918) On Demand: what is it all about?

Due to the implementation of our new library system are we temporarily unable to deliver free PDFs of Danish books and printed musical scores (1701-1914). Information on when the service will resume is unavailable at the moment.

What is included in the service?

Digitization on Demand is a service which covers a selection of Danish books (including historical dominions) printed 1701-1918.

Periodicals are not included; the national website for Danish periodicals, tidsskrift.dk, offers an increasing number of digitized periodicals.

Danish books printed before 1600 have been digitized, and so has a large number of books printed in the period 1601-1700. The online versions are accessible in the database Early European Books Online or in REX.

Danish newspapers are being scanned and published in Mediestream.


Who can order a digitization?

To order a PDF, you have to be registered as a user of the Royal Danish Library. The registration can be done online.


How do I order a PDF?

Go to REX (rex.kb.dk) and log in. Follow these steps:

1. In the drop down menu ‘All collections’, choose ‘Danish Collections (Reading Room Only)’.

2. Search for the book you are interested in.

3. If the book is included in the service, you will find a copy: ‘Closed stack, Available’, with the text ‘Reading Room/Free PDF’.

4. Click on ‘Request’.

5. Chose the pickup location ‘Free PDF max 5 per month’.

6. Click on ‘Send request’.


How do I know when my PDF is ready – and how long does it take?

Once the digitization process has been completed – normally about 8-12 working days - you will receive an e-mail from the library with links to the PDF-files. Please beware that the mail by some spam filters may be interpreted as "unwanted mail".

The mail you receive contains:

a) link to a black/white, low-resolution (and hence smaller) searchable PDF, which is suitable for faster reading and download to different platforms; and

b) link to a non-searchable colour PDF, which serves as a facsimile of the book, and where illustrations etc. can be closely examined.

The links will also contain information about the size of the two files. This double delivery provides you with the possibility to choose the version most suited to your needs, platforms and internet connection.

Once the book has gone through the digitization process, a link to the online version is available in REX for all users.


How is the scanning done?

All books are scanned “from cover to cover”, i.e. the binding and all pages in the physical copy are included. Two introductory pages with information about the file and its provenance are added ahead.

The final result depends on the physical condition of the book. A possible interference is “mirror disturbance” where the innermost part of the page is mirrored in the opposite scanner glass plate and becomes part of the picture taken.

If technical or physical conditions are discovered once we the book from the stack, for instance a very tight binding, we might have to give up scanning the book. In that case you will be informed by a mail.


Viewing the PDFs

The pages of the black/white PDF is optimized for opening and download. The text has been made searchable by OCR (optical character recognition) and can be highlighted for copy-and-paste purpose.

The quality of the OCR generated text is, however, dependent on print quality, fonts etc.; gothic scripts in particular is a challenge.

The colour PDF is mainly intended to provide a facsimile of the printed work, where illustrations etc. can be studied closely. This file is, however, much bigger, and hence takes longer time to view and download.

Normally, the PDF opens automatically when clicking the link in the mail you received. However, some of the files are very large, which may cause the process to time-out. This may typically occur if the computer in question is set up to use the browser's PDF-viewer.

The best way of viewing PDF files is to use a program designed for that purpose, e.g. Adobe Reader. Using other programs, whether separate or "built-in" into the browser (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer) may radically diminish the quality of the pictures shown.


Downloading the PDFs

To avoid the problems described above, it is recommended that you download the PDF to the hard disk:

In REX (the Royal Library OPAC), the digital version has its own record, with the tab "Online resource". In general, this record is shown together with the records on the physical copies in the search result ("There are x versions of this item").

You can access the digital copy (the PDF-file) by clicking the text Online resource. From the same link you can download the file ("Save target as..." (Internet Explorer); "Save file as..." (Firefox)) and then open it with the program of your choice (e.g. Adobe Reader). We recommend that you also disable the built-in PDF viewer of your browser and use Adobe Reader.

If the work consists of more than one volume, the tab will give access to links to the different volumes; please be advised, that there may be a delay before all volumes are scanned and available. For titles scanned June 2015 and later, there will be two links per volume, for previous scans only one.


What do I do if the PDF is incomplete?

If you discover a mistake in the scan (e.g. missing pages), the mail sent to you contains a mail address for contacting the library.

How do I order prints from the PDF-file?

You can have prints sent to you at DKK 3,- /page – send an e-mail to kontaktbiblioteket@kb.dk with the following data:

- link to the PDF (e.g. http://www.kb.dk/e-mat/dod/[1234567890.pdf - is seen in REX as the link «Open new window».)

- pages wanted (Please note! Pages numbers as in the printed work!)

- invoice address

How can I get to see the physical copy of a digitized work?

We hope that the PDF files will meet the needs of most users, but we are aware that sometimes a perusal of the physical copy is required. Therefore, in the records of the physical item, there is a link to an application to see the work in Reading Room West, the research reading room of the Royal Danish Library.

A reading room ID-card is required. The application will be evaluated within five working days, and the outcome will be communicated by e-mail to the applicant.