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article imageMore marvels from the digital archives, totally free

By Alexander Baron     Jul 22, 2012 in Internet
The great archives of the world in collaboration with governments are digitising enormous quantities of material to deliver to your desktop totally free.
A year ago this month, the Government of Kenya announced the digitisation of its Hansard from November 1959 to date.
Other governments are doing similar things. Back in December 2007, the British Library began an ambitious five year project assisted by the Government of Thailand to digitise over 50 manuscripts from the Chakrabongse Archive.
More recently, the Library announced an £8.7 million project to digitise more than 500,000 pages from the archives of the East India Company and India Office, in addition to 25,000 pages of medieval Arabic manuscripts - all of which will be made freely available on-line for the first time.
This is being done in cooperation with the new Qatar National Library, supported by the Qatar Foundation. Annotations will be in both English and Arabic.
The British Library is now also offering an on-line thesis service, EThOS. This is not inclusive of all UK institutions of higher learning, but again it brings knowledge to your desktop.
The National Library of Wales has introduced something called Digital Mirror which is worth taking a look at. It also has a large number of scans of old documents in its on-line manuscript archive.
Not to be outdone, the National Library of Scotland has digitised an amazing collection of historical maps of the country from 1560-1928.
It is always risky trying to predict the future, but ten years from now the question won't be what can you find on-line but what can't you find? The answer to that question is likely to be: very little.
More about British library, digital archive, Archives, ethos, e theses online service