Partnership digitises old medical books

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The Wellcome Library and Jisc have signed a new three-year agreement to digitise more than 10 million pages of 19th century published works.

These works focus on medicine and related disciplines and are drawn from university and other research libraries across the UK. The Wellcome Library is digitising its own 19th century collections and Jisc will support the digitisation of complementary collections housed within universities.

The aim of the project is to create a comprehensive online resource for the history of medicine and related sciences. The Wellcome Library will also provide support to allow non-university research libraries to participate in the project. Open access to all of the content will be provided across multiple platforms, including the Wellcome Library’s website, the Internet Archive and through Jisc. 

Simon Chaplin, head of the Wellcome Library explained that the project will complement the US-based Medical Heritage Library, which already has over 50,000 digitised books online. 'For the Wellcome Library, this forms part of a bigger project that will digitise over 50 million pages of historic medical books, archives, manuscripts and journals by 2020,' he said.

The project is being undertaken in partnership with a number of higher education and specialist libraries, co-designed with Research Libraries UK, and informed by an academic advisory group.