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Introducing CUDL

Welcome to Cambridge Digital Library: A home for the discovery of digitised material and research outputs from the University of Cambridge and beyond.

We hope you find what you are looking for – please do contact us if you have any questions or comments.

Our Mission, Vision & Values

The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

Cambridge Digital Library supports this mission through a vision based on our core values:

  • Access – We want our unique and distinctive collections to be openly accessible to as many people as possible.
  • Collaboration – By working together with partners across different local, national and international institutions we foster a platform for sharing that benefits all and extends our combined reach and effectiveness.
  • Engagement – We don’t just want to make our collections available, we also want to encourage people to use them and help us develop them further.
  • Innovation – We want to ensure the long-standing legacy of our content remains relevant as technologies evolve so that researchers will be able to study it long into the future in new and exciting ways.
  • Inspiration – Many of our collections focus on inspirational people and themes. We want to inspire a thirst for knowledge, understanding and further research.

Our Story so far

Over the course of six centuries Cambridge University Library's collections have grown from a few dozen volumes into one of the world's great libraries, with an extraordinary accumulation of material. The collections cover every conceivable aspect of human endeavour, spanning most of the world's cultural traditions.

The first phase of work on Cambridge Digital Library, which ran from 2010 to 2014 was made possible through a lead gift of £1.5m from Dr Leonard Polonsky. This generous support has enabled the Library to develop its technical infrastructure and create significant content, particularly in the areas of faith and science - two areas of strength within our unique and distinctive collections. It has also enabled us to attract funding from other sources, including the AHRC, NSF, NEH, JISC and other private donors.

Wherever possible we seek to enhance our digital collections by aligning them with scholarly research. Examples of this include not only collaborations with research projects based here within Cambridge University Library, such as the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit and the Darwin Correspondence Project, but also those from further afield such as the Newton Project and the Darwin Manuscripts Project, which is based at the American Museum of Natural History. Our Sanskrit Collection, Spanish Chapbooks collection and Board of Longitude collection have all been significantly enriched through major AHRC research projects.

Another goal is to make content from the Digital Library freely available for use within teaching and research. Copyright and licensing will not always permit this, but where it does we are providing good quality images, texts and metadata for download and reuse. You can even embed our viewer straight into your own webpages and blogs.

Given Cambridge’s heritage, we are also acutely aware of the need to preserve the work we do for future generations. With further funding from the Polonsky Foundation we are currently collaborating with Bodleian Libraries in Oxford on a project to enhance our digital preservation programme.

Cambridge Digital Library has become a platform for digital humanities activity within Cambridge and beyond. We have plenty of exciting projects in the pipeline - sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for all our latest updates (@CamDigLib). We also love to hear from you, so get in touch with any comments or questions or even to find out if we can help you with your project.

Cambridge University Library collections represent an invaluable contribution to world heritage spanning four thousand years of human thought. Cambridge Digital Library seeks to open up this knowledge to the widest possible global audience, for research, for education or for simple curiosity and wonder.” Dr Jessica Gardner, University Librarian and Director of Library Services