The Wellcome Library and Jisc have announced nine partner institutions whose 19th-century book collections will be digitised and added to the UK Medical Heritage Library (UK MHL), an online resource for the study of the history of medicine and related sciences.
Six university libraries have joined the partnership – University College London, University of Leeds, University of Glasgow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Kings College London and University of Bristol – along with the libraries of the Royal College of Physicians of London, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
The project’s focus is on books and pamphlets from the 19th century that are on the subject of medicine or its related disciplines. This will include works relating to the medical sciences, consumer health, sport and fitness, as well as different kinds of medical practice, from phrenology to hydrotherapy.
Approximately 15 million pages of printed books and pamphlets from all ten partners will be digitised over a period of two years and will be made freely available to researchers and the public under an open licence. The content will be available on multiple platforms to broaden access, including the Internet Archive, the Wellcome Library and Jisc Historic Books.
This is an exciting development for those interested in the history of medicine, and for the Wellcome Library forms part of a larger ambition to digitise and make freely available over 50 million pages of historical medical books, archives, manuscripts and journals by 2020.