At Wired magazine, Jon Stokes heralds Google’s digitalization of the Dead Sea Scrolls:
[I]t’s rare that scholars get to compare a a high-quality, full-color facsimile of a source text to the edited critical edition that forms the basis of their work. But what’s even rarer is the opportunity to compare a high-quality image of a source text to the transliteration and/or transcription that underlies the critical edition. (A transliteration is where a scholar tries to copy the source text exactly, misspellings and all; a transcription is a cleaned up version of the transliteration, where spelling, punctuation, diacriticals, and the like are all normalized.) Transcriptions and transliterations are almost never released; all scholars see is the resulting, cleaned-up edition.
We have shamelessly stolen this post from another blog because it fits so perfectly with Encyclopedia Virginia‘s purposes. That’s because, for the last year, we have been working on a project by which we will post primary documents on the site—transcriptions plus high-resolution images—so that they are both browsable and, through in-line hyperlinks, integrated into the rest of the site’s content.
Read the Jamestown entry, for instance, and soon you’ll find links to accounts by the earliest settlers and to the text of the colony’s royal charters. You’ll also find everything from letters to laws. This is the basic stuff of history—perfect for the classroom, we hope, but also for our most curious readers.
We’ll keep you up to date as our primary resources come online.