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Cambridge University Library to digitise faith and science texts

4th June 2010

Cambridge University Library plans to digitise thousands of rare scientific and religious books and manuscripts.

A GBP 1.5 million donation by former businessman Dr Leonard Polonsky will allow the library to establish its first two online collections - entitled the Foundations of Faith and the Foundations of Science.

The religious collection will see manuscripts important to Islam, Judaism and Christianity, such as the oldest copies of the Qur'an, the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection and the Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, converted into electronic formats.

Papers written by Isaac Newton and contemporaries like John Flamsteed and Edmond Halley will be included in the science archive. If the project is a success and more funding is secured, works by Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking will also be digitised.

Anne Jarvis, the university's librarian, commented: 'Faith and science will be the two cornerstones of the project, both of fundamental importance in our quest to understand the world and our place in it.'

In April, the University of Cambridge's Parker Library announced that it had converted more than 550 Anglo-Saxon manuscripts into an electronic format.

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