The Vatican and Bodlein Libraries, in conjunction with a grant from the Polonsky Foundation, have gone digital. Now instead of booking a reservation with the librarians and hopping on a plane to Italy or England, patrons can simply log on to the website in order to browse and view thousands of digitized manuscripts including a copy of the Gutenberg Bible and medieval copies of the Talmud.
The Library of Congress serves as the de facto national library for the United States. As such, it is a repository of important historical collections of various media available to the public. While most people are aware that the Library of Congress is a free resource for citizens to use, they do not access due to the fact that it is located in Washington D.C. However, the Library of Congress has many online resources, including an entire repository of Digital Collections. Individuals can access maps, images, recordings, and more via the online digital repository. Librarians have also organized much of the material into various topical collections to help navigate through the content. Be sure to check out their Digital Collection here.
“Cambridge University Library contains evidence of some of the greatest ideas and discoveries over two millennia. We want to make our collections accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a thirst for knowledge.” — Anne Jarvis, University Librarian
The University’s collection ranges from hand-copied manuscripts of prized religious texts (such as the recently published Nash Papyrus), some of the oldest copies of ancient texts (such as Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura), and esteemed original scientific records (such as Newton’s own handwritten notebooks) to name but a few.
Cambridge University provides users with extensive historical background and provenance of the work as well as a series of high definition images that allow the user to see the works in amazing detail! This is an incredible opportunity for scholars and lay-researchers alike.
The Vatican has one of the most extensive collections of scholarly, religious, and literary collections in its tomes. However, the cost of its maintenance and the realities that even the best resources will not preserve them forever, has had the Holy See looking for a more permanent and high tech solution. Many see the use of technology as not only serving a conservation need, but also allowing greater access to its collection.
To learn more about the Vatican library and its endeavors to preserve its collection, see the article at MSNBC.
Well, the trip to the U.K. is coming to an end. The conference at the American School in London – the Learning Institute. It was an amazing experience to meet new colleagues, network, and learn some new pedagogical skills to employ in the classroom. Lots of grew ideas got thrown around and presented!
Cambridge was wonderful. We lucked out with the weather and, even though the exhibits that we wanted to attend ended, we were able to get private tours from the Librarian Starlit Newman of Cambridge’s Library and shared the history and the grounds of Cambridge with us.
Lastly, we spent a few days in Edinburgh (where I once lived and attended the University of Edinburgh). While enjoying my nostalgia, we arranged a couple of meetings, the first with the local librarian Joe Marshal. Joe is the head librarian of rare and valuable books collection at the University of Edinburgh. He gave us an amazing tour of the rare books, conservation techniques, the goals of the program, and the history of the books at the University. He even let us touch a velum book, that he dated to around 800 CE. Amazing!
Next, we met with Dr. Fraser Hunter, the curator of Roman Antiquities at the Museum of Scotland. He was brilliant and gave us a whirlwind tour of the collection (you truly need more time to look at it properly – like 3 or 4 days). it was great to pick his brain and to learn more about early Scottish culture, and how the new museum had been developed.
Well, once have some more time to process (and my computer so I can post proper links), I’ll be sure to expand. I promise!
Check out Yale’s Digital Commons which allows you to search several libraries, museums, and galleries for digital content accessible from anywhere! Again, this is a free resource.