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Research & Collections Programme

Growing research through the convening power of Cambridge’s collections
 

'Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries' is a two-year project (March 2022 to February 2024) led by Cambridge University Library to digitise, catalogue and conserve over 180 medieval manuscripts that contain unedited medical recipes. It is funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Award.

The results of the project - high-resolution digital images, detailed descriptions and full-text transcriptions - will be made freely available online on the Cambridge Digital Library, opening up these collections to researchers around the world.

This will be the first concerted effort by a group of libraries to make all of the medical recipe contents of these types of manuscript available in this manner.

The project team will prepare detailed descriptions of the manuscripts' textual contents, material characteristics, and origins and provenance, and place the recipes in their material, intellectual and historical contexts. They will also produce full-text transcriptions of the approximately 8,000 medical recipes that these manuscripts contain. 

Cover-to-cover digitisation will enable researchers to see the recipes in their original setting: where they were written on the page and how they were presented, and whether they were added by different hands or at different times.

Conservation will also guarantee continued physical access to the material for future generations of researchers.