Darwin Evolves for Survival in Digital Age

Published on Spiegel online/Zeitgeist english edition, by rjm, April 17, 2008.

Cambridge University has posted the bulk of Charles Darwin’s writings, handwritten notes and manuscripts online. The world’s richest trove of information on Darwin’s evolution teachings – once restricted to researchers at the prestigious university – is now available to the world for free.

They say you have to evolve with the times. Now the original source of the survival metaphor is getting his fair shake at it. On Thursday, the Cambridge University Library published Charles Darwin’s private papers on the Internet, including his original sketch of the theory of evolution.

The publication is the largest ever of the famed scientist’s personal papers, which for decades have been available only to scholars at Cambridge University. The archive contains nearly 90,000 images and 20,000 items, including sketches, field notes, manuscripts, drawings, letters and photographs …

… Yet for all these changes in medium, many but not all of the papers are, according to the library’s 1960 description of the originals, “presumably just as Darwin left them,” as the Web site states. (full text).

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