Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, November 16, 2007

Digitizing the Dead Sea scrolls

Simon Tanner of King's College London will lead a team in digitizing the Dead Sea scrolls.  (Thanks to digitizationblog.)  From the KCL announcement:

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is considered as one of the greatest manuscript finds ever. The scrolls were written or copied in the Land of Israel between 250 BCE and 68 CE, and were rediscovered in 1947 in the Judean Desert....

Work on the unpublished texts, consisting of thousands of fragments, was monopolized for 35 years by a group of ten distinguished scholars. Inevitably, the limited size of the team prevented the speedy publication of the documents. In the early 1990s steps were taken by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) to reorganize the publication efforts, and the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls in their entirety was completed in 2001.

The conservation, preservation and documentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls have concerned both scholars and conservators ever since their discovery....

Since the more than 15,000 Scroll fragments were photographed only once, in the 1950s, the IAA has convened an international committee of experts, led by Simon Tanner, to digitise the Scrolls for the web....

PS:  Digitizing the scrolls "for the web" probably means "for free online access" if not full OA.  But it might mean "for access by paying customers".  Does anyone know which?