Christ Church Library and the Bodleian Library have joined efforts in a new digitization project with the aim of opening up the rich repository of manuscripts and rare early printed books at Christ Church. Over the course of the next few years, thousands of pages from this outstanding collection will be made freely available online to researchers and to the general public.
Christ Church has a sizable collection of manuscripts ranging from sources of English and Italian music before 1700, to Western, Byzantine, Hebrew and Arabic. In all, there are over one thousand manuscripts. These include a sumptuously illustrated 14th century treatise on kingship by Walter de Milemete for the young King Edward III, several 14th and 15th-century finely illuminated devotional books, a 15th-century Corpus Juris Angliae, beginning with Magna Carta, a copy of Ralph Higden's Polychronicon, and a 13th century manuscript of the sermons of St. Bernard. A later group includes the earliest surviving manuscript for Handel’s Water Music, notes on Isaac Newton's Principia mathematica and the Institutiones Astronomicae by David Gregory (1661-1708).
For a number of these, we can now provide an interactive web application supporting descriptive material and bibliography, plus a viewing environment of digitized images. The initiative has been made possible by a substantial award from the the Governing Body. We also have greately benefitted from the generosity of Christ Church alumni committed to democratizing access to information.
The digitization project will focus on six main groups of texts.
The links to a selection of fully digitized volumes and more details about the project will be provided here soon.