Jisc members are being offered early access to a new major digitised collection on the history of science.
The digital archive is still in development, but all Jisc HE, FE and affiliate members will be able to preview an initial proportion of the content that’s being digitised ahead of the full launch later this year.
Paola Marchionni, head of digital resources for teaching, learning and research at Jisc, says:
“The need to digitise library and archival collections has become even more apparent due to the pandemic and the increased demand for online resources. We’re exploring new collaborations with publishers to test if this business model is viable and can be scaled up.”
On completion, the collection will consist of a million pages of documents drawn from the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) and complementary materials from UK libraries and archives. Collections from the universities of Leeds and Liverpool, University College London and Senate House Libraries have already been selected for inclusion and free digitisation following an open call for expression of interest, and more collections from other university libraries and archives will be included over the next few weeks.
Harriet Affleck, head of commercial licensing and digitisation at UCL says:
“We are committed to opening up printed collections to a global audience and, given the current crisis, this is more important than ever before. This innovative project will extend access to a wealth of materials on the history of science, including two collections contributed by UCL, at a time when institutions around the world are responding to an ever-increasing demand for digital resources. This model could prove transformative; enabling institutions to digitise collections at scale, ensuring the widest possible access and facilitating the future of digital scholarship.”
Jodie Double, digital content and copyright manager comments:
“The University of Leeds is pleased to participate in this project uniting material held in special collections with other partner libraries and archives across the UK. Leeds University Library Special Collections has extensive medical related collections. Our contribution to the digital collection will be papers from the 1858, 1890 and 1967 meetings of the BAAS in Leeds. Digitisation of the BAAS material held at Leeds enables us to share this collection material with a global audience around the topic of the history of science fostering new research and insight into UK medical practice.”
This digitisation project comes via an innovative partnership between Jisc, global publisher Wiley, and the participating universities. It uses a new business model for the creation of financially sustainable digital collections which also guarantees free access to all UK institutions.
The ‘British Association for the Advancement of Science: Collections on the history of science 1830-1970’ is freely available to UK institutions through the Jisc licence subscriptions manager. Students, teachers and researchers will be able to engage with important primary source material that will otherwise have been hard to access in physical archives.
Read more about the BAAS collection on the Wiley Digital Archives website.