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Edited Manuscripts


The Darwin Manuscripts Project is a comprehensive, born-digital edition of all Darwin's massive collection of scientific manuscripts. Had it been published some few years ago it would have appeared in multiple hard-cover volumes and it would have been called The Scientific Manuscripts of Charles Darwin. In the digital age, the DMP edition provides high-resolution images for each original Darwin manuscript. But these are accompanied by edited transcriptions that aim to reach the high standard of traditional historical editions. 

Opening the Archive: The organization of the DMP edition mirrors the underlying structure of the Charles Darwin Papers in Cambridge University Library. The archive is largely as Darwin left his papers at his death in April 1882. The key to the architecture of the collection is that Darwin organized his working documents around large themes, which correspond quite closely to, and reflect the development of, his published books. Thus, in browsing the Manuscripts section of DMP, one is combing through Darwin's papers according to the emergent structure of his scientific thought and practice. In the Union Catalogue section, in contrast, one has his papers in the exact order that they are now preserved at Cambridge. This dual access to the archive is made possible because in the digital age the edition is based on a very extensive database. That database includes the Cambridge Catalogue of the Darwin Manuscripts, which DMP is responsible for maintaining and updating in collaboration with the Manuscripts Department of Cambridge University Library.