(AP) -- Google says it will scan up to 1 million old books in national libraries in Rome and Florence, including works by astronomer Galileo Galilei, in what's being described as the first deal of its kind.
Officials from Google and Italian culture officials said Wednesday the project is the first time Google Books and a culture ministry have had such a partnership.
Culture Ministry official Mario Resca says the deal will help save the books' content forever.
Resca said the 1966 Florence flood ruined thousands of books in the Tuscan city's library. He said digitizing books from before 1868 will help spread Italian culture throughout the world.
Google will cover the costs of the scanning of the books, all of them out-of-copyright Italian works, including 19th-century literature and 18th-century scientific volumes.
Explore further: Obama defends NSA against latest spying report