Leeds University Library

New digitising partnership with Wellcome Library

Published Thursday 31 July 2014

A row of old books

Historic books from the 19th century will be digitised for the UK Medical Heritage Library

Leeds University Library, the Wellcome Library and eight other institutions, will digitise historic book collections to build the online UK Medical Heritage Library.

During the two year project, approximately 15 million pages of printed books and pamphlets from all ten partners will be digitised. They will be made freely available to researchers and the public under an open license. 

The project's focus is on books and pamphlets about medicine or related disciplines from the 19th century. This will include works relating to medical sciences, consumer health, sport and fitness, as well as different kinds of medical practice from phrenology to hydrotherapy. Food and nutrition will also feature: around 1,400 cookery books from the University of Leeds will be digitised.

The Cookery Collection is one of the Library's Designated collections, which is of interest to a much wider range of users than those simply interested in the history of cookery. The collection includes works on food production and medicinal uses as well as recipe books and household management.

The books will be sent to the Wellcome Library in London where a team from the Internet Archive will perform the digitisation work. The project will build on the success of the US-based Medical Heritage Library consortium, which has already digitised over 50,000 books and pamphlets.