December 17, 2017

Cambridge Digital Library Launches (Free) with 4000 Pages of Material by Sir Issac Newton

From Wired UK:

A copy of the Principia Mathematica filled with annotations made by Sir Isaac Newton is among 4,000 pages of material that are being made available online by Cambridge University Library.

As part of the Cambridge Digital Library project started in 2010, the world’s largest and most significant collection of the scientific works of Newton has been restored and digitised for public consumption. Thousands of pages will be adding in the coming months with the ultimate aim of putting “almost all” of the library’s Newton’s material online.

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Direct to the Cambridge Digital Library

Direct to the Sir Issac Newton Collection

Direct to Official News Release

Direct to Slideshow of Some of the Material

See Also: Introducing the Cambridge Digital Library

We have called the first phase of our work on the Cambridge Digital Library the Foundations Project, which runs from mid-2010 to mid-2013 and has been made possible through a lead gift of £1.5m by Dr Leonard Polonsky. This generous support will enable the Library to develop its technical infrastructure and create significant content in the areas of faith and science – two areas of particular strength within our collections.

See Also: Cambridge Digital Library: Sir Isaac Newton’s Own Annotated Principia Mathematica Goes Online (via The Guardian)

So far, more than 4,000 pages, about 20% of the university’s Newton archive, have been put into digital form as part of a programme that will eventually give the public access to the papers of other famous scientists, ranging from Darwin to Ernest Rutherford. Included in the papers are the handwritten notes made after Newton’s death, in 1727, by his colleague Thomas Pellet, who was asked by relatives of the great scientist to examine the papers with a view to publication.

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Grant Young, the university library’s digitisation manager, said: “You can see Newton’s mind at work in the calculations and how his thinking was developing. His copy of the Principia contains pages interleaved with the printed text with his notes.

“The book has suffered much, pages are badly burned or water-stained, so it is very delicate and rarely put on show. Before today anyone who wanted to see these things had to come to Cambridge and get permission to see them, but we are now bringing Cambridge University library to the world at the click of a mouse.”

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See Also: Royal Society Journal Archive Made Permanently Free to Access (From October 2011)

Treasures in the archive include Isaac Newton’s first published scientific paper, geological work by a young Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin’s celebrated account of his electrical kite experiment.  And nestling amongst these illustrious papers, readers willing to delve a little deeper into the archive may find some undiscovered gems from the dawn of the scientific revolution – including accounts of monstrous calves, grisly tales of students being struck by lightning, and early experiments on to how to cool drinks “without the Help of Snow, Ice, Haile, Wind or Niter, and That at Any Time of the Year.”

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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