Digitisation Overview

An article today in the Times Online provides quite a library friendly overview of many book digitisation projects underway. It also makes me realise I’ve been here too long, because I can understand why we have such a reader un-friendly non- lending rule here – only at the Bodleian libraries, not the majority of Oxford libraries, I hasten to add. The idea was/is that you can come from anywhere at any time, and the book you want should be available for consultation somehwere on the premises. It’s possibly a result of not allowing books to be borrowed that there is still such an amazing, huge, and intact collection which can be digitised…
The material that is being digitised here at Oxford is from the 19th century, pre 1870; it has included some 15,000 volumes from the law collection. The project has also led the digitisers to realise they need some form of metadata if people are going to be able to identify material easily. This came home to them when they started on runs of legislative and caselaw material, and seems to have led to a more methodical approach to the process.

There is a lot of information on the Google website about the digitisation project, and here is a link to one of the law library’s volumes that has been digitised. Oxford has been very cautious, and only allows ‘snippet’ views; however if you are lucky the volume has also been digitised elsewhere, and you can browse the full text of the copy.

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