As the first step to making UK’s Cambridge University Library into a Digital Library, it has put 4000 pages of Sir Isaac Newton’s scientific papers online where they can be viewed, read and downloaded for free by anybody.
The site PhysOrg.com reported that:
“In a project that has long been overdue, Cambridge University, thanks to a hefty gift from the Polonsky Foundation (supporter of education and arts) and a grant from Britain’s Joint Information Services Committee (JISC), has put some of Isaac Newton’s original papers online for any and all to see. Of particular interest to most will be Newton’s own annotated copy of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, considered by many to be one of the greatest published works by any scientist ever. For those looking for a little behind the scenes work, the University has also published Newton’s so-called “Waste Book,” a diary of sorts that Newton inherited from his step-father which he took along with him and used for jotting notes about such things as his ideas on calculus while away from school due to the Great Plague in 1665.”
The material has been put up in PDF format. And as can be seen, the digitization has come none too soon as many of the pages are tattered, smeared and even burned up. Thus, not only has putting the papers online made them accessible to anyone online, it has also caused them to be saved for posterity in an electronic form that will ensure they will be accessible to all those who may wish to view them in the future as well.
All the digitized works of Newton can be viewed in the University’s Digital Library here.
Cambridge University has also announced plans to make the rest of Newton’s work digitized and even has in mind to make available online the works of other scientists.