The project began as a result of a successful bid for funding from the eLib programme, set up after the Libraries Review by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, chaired by Professor Sir Brian Follett in 1993 (sometimes called the Follett Report). The Bodleian library already had an interest in digitisation projects. They decided to focus on materials from the 18th and 19th century in part because of copyright problems with newer material, and to choose materials that were heavily used. The original bid from the Bodleian included journals, newspapers and slides. The eLib programme identified a number of similar digitisation projects and suggested the eventual consortium with Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. The project effectively commenced in late 1995.
Peter Leggate is the joint project leader with Hugh Wellesley-Smith, Deputy Librarian, Edward Boyle Library, University of Leeds. The management of the project is being coordinated from Oxford. Scanning the journals from microfilm and keyboarding the index entries also takes place at Oxford. Scanning from hard copy is being undertaken at Birmingham and Manchester. Servers to mount the images are located at Oxford and Leeds.
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