The first collections to be digitised will be entitled The Foundations of Faith and The Foundations of Science. The goal for both is that they become ‘living libraries’ with the capacity to grow and evolve.
The Library’s faith collections are breathtaking. They include some of the oldest and most significant Qur’ans ever to be uncovered, as well an Eighth Century copy of Surat al-Anfal. The Library also holds the world’s largest and most important collection of Jewish Genizah materials, including the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection – 193,000 fragments of manuscripts as significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Its Christian holdings include an incomparable collection of manuscripts including the Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis (one of the most important Greek New Testament manuscripts), the Book of Deer and the Book of Cerne.
The University Library also holds some of the world’s most important records of the development of modern science – including the most comprehensive collection of Newton’s papers (heavily annotated copies of Principia, lectures as Lucasian Professor and proofs of Opticks), and those of John Flamsteed and Edmond Halley, contemporaries of Newton, with whom he corresponded.
If the project proves successful (further funding is needed and other donors are being sought), the collections of scientific giants such as Charles Darwin, James Clerk Maxwell, and Stephen Hawking could also be digitised, along with other major collections in the fields of humanities and social sciences.