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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Charles Darwin is going online!

Half of him is already there; the rest will follow by 2009.'Charles Darwin has a posse' graphic

No, there's not some weird digitalization of Darwin's mortal remains going on, as interesting as that might be to some as we get closer to Halloween. Instead, I'm talking about a Cambridge University project to make Darwin's complete works available online and searchable. For free. So far, 50,000 pages of text and 40,000 images of original publications have been digitized.

The resource is aimed at serious scholars, but can be used by anyone with an interest in Darwin and his theory on the evolution of life.

"The idea is to make these important works as accessible as possible; some people can only get at Darwin that way," said Dr John van Wyhe, the project's director.

Dr van Wyhe has spent the past four years searching the globe for copies of Darwin's own materials, and works written about the naturalist and his breakthrough ideas on natural selection.

The historian said he was inspired to build the library at darwin-online.org.uk when his own efforts to study Darwin while at university in Asia were frustrated.
A pair of Darwin's finches
"I wrote to lots of people all over the world to get hold of the texts for the project and I got a really positive reaction because they all liked the idea of there being one big collection," he told BBC News.

Darwin Online features many newly transcribed or never-before-published manuscripts written by the great man.

These include a remarkable field notebook from his famous Beagle voyage to the Galapagos Islands, where detailed observations of the wildlife would later forge his scientific arguments.

The real artefact was stolen in the 1980s and is still missing, but the text has been transcribed from a microfilm copy made two decades earlier.

"It is astonishing to see the notebook that Darwin had in his pocket as he walked around the Galapagos — the scribbled notes that he took as he clambered over the lava," said Randal Keynes, the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin.

You can make your own visit to Darwin Online if you go here.

Via BBC News.

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:12 AM | Get permalink




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