Google chosen to digitize Dead Sea Scrolls

The Israel Antiquities Authority has asked Google to scan the famous documents as it grows worried about its ability to preserve the ancient paper.

Google has been asked to scan the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to preserve the documents and make them easier to study.
Google has been asked to scan the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to preserve the documents and make them easier to study. Wikimedia Commons

If anybody could be forgiven for missing the deadline to opt out of the Google Books settlement, it's probably the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has tapped Google to digitize the famous texts, one of the earliest documents ever discovered chronicling the early years of Christianity. CNN reports that Google will be responsible for scanning the 900 manuscripts, which are actually comprised of more than 30,000 fragments discovered in caves around Israel in the 1940s and 1950s.

Israeli researchers had come to worry about the ability of the scrolls to endure further photography, as exposure to light and air has a negative effect on the paper. Google will use spectral and infrared scanning techniques to make a digital copy of the scrolls, which will then be made available to the public online, according to the report.

All jokes about the Google Books settlement aside, if there was ever a document that had passed into the public domain, it's the Dead Sea Scrolls. Google was sued in 2005 for scanning 20th century books with unexpired copyrights, and a final approval of that settlement with groups representing authors and publishers is still pending before a U.S. judge.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.


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