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Two million digitized books and other cultural treasures are now accessible online in the new multilingual European Union virtual library ‘Europeana’. Or… will be when technical problems are sorted out: Soon after its launch the website seized up. Popularity did that… 10 million hits an hour.

It will connect people to history and, through interactive pages and tools, to each other, Brussels says. Europeana was put into motion after Google Book Search – the major American venture – beat Europe out of the starting blocks.

The European web library, with the participation of in more than a thousand institutions in the 27 EU states, plans to offer access to 10 million works by 2010. So far, about half the 2 million digitized items are from France.

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