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Parker Library digitises entire archive

29th April 2010

An important collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts has been digitised by the University of Cambridge in a pioneering project.

The Parker Library, which holds more than 550 manuscripts including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the sixth-century St Augustine Gospels, has become the world's first research library to hold every page in its archive in an electronic format.

Alfred the Great is thought to have commissioned the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the ninth century and the version held at the Parker Library is the oldest surviving manuscript.

The collection also holds the ninth-century Corpus Glossary, which is one of the earliest studies of the English language and defines more than 2,000 words in Anglo-Saxon.

Christopher de Hamel, Donnelley Fellow librarian at Corpus Christi College, added that the institute contains more than just Anglo-Saxon manuscripts.

'The library also includes everything from monastic books from the early Dark Ages to autograph letters from Anne Boleyn, Martin Luther and the bill for burning Cranmer in 1556,' he explained.

Recently, the National Trust unveiled an electronic collection of more than 155,000 historic books which are held at its sites and revealed that another 70,000 are to be converted to digital format.

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