Google and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage have reached an agreement to digitise up to a million out-of-copyright works at the national libraries in Florence and Rome, including some by Galileo. Google is not only to work closely together with the Italian libraries, but also with the Italian ministry of culture – the first time that the search engine has had a government department a such a close partner on such a project. Google called it a “groundbreaking deal”. “The libraries will select the works to be digitised from their collections, which include a wealth of rare historical books, including scientific works, literature from the period of the founding of Italy and the works of Italy’s most famous poets and writers,” says Google’s strategic partner development manager, Gino Mattiuzzo, in a blogpost announcing the deal. While the costs will be covered fully by Google, the company will pass the scans on. The books will be available to groups including the EU’s Europeana project, which already has scanned 6 million digital items of cultural value. Google has similar arrangements with Oxford University, Madrid’s Complutense University, the Bavarian state museum and others.