Albert Einstein's papers go digital with global access

Princeton University Press digitises vast collection together with global access for academics, students and historians.

Albert Einstein's papers available in digital format

Albert Einstein's papers available in digital format

The New Jersey-based Princeton University Press has opened up digital access to a vast collection of papers that belonged to the 20th century’s most influential scientist, Albert Einstein.

This online service offers unprecedented access to a recently-launched Digital Einstein Papers web site. There is free access to a unique repository of papers, journals and other collections. This brings the writings of Einstein to a digitally-savvy audience worldwide.

Peter Dougherty, director of Princeton University Press, said the university has a long history of publishing books by and about Einstein. These include the influential body of work found in “The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.”

"We are delighted to make these texts openly-available to a global audience of researchers, scientists, historians, and students keen to learn more about Albert Einstein,” he said.

More than 5,000 documents online

The collection encompasses 5,000 documents that cover the first forty-four years of Einstein’s life, up to receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics and travelling to the Far East.

New online material will be available in another eighteen months. This dedicated website also opens up access to other writings and correspondence together with scholarly annotations.

Diana L. Kormos-Buchwald, director of the Einstein Papers Project, said the existing collection was carefully researched and annotated over the last twenty-five years. This contains scientific and popular writings, drafts, lecture notes and diaries as well as professional and personal correspondence.

With online search, access and navigation tools, users can now source major scientific articles on topics like the general theory of relativity, gravitation or quantum theory.

This collection sits alongside personal correspondence and exchanges with other notable scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and political personalities of the early twentieth century.

Advanced search and access features

Among the features, advance-search technology enables users to do key word searches across volumes of writing. They can also navigate between original languages in which texts were written and the English translations.

Search and access features are complemented by explanatory footnotes, introductory essays, and links to the “Einstein Archives Online.” This repository holds thousands of high-quality digital images of writings.

Kenneth Reed, manager of digital production for Princeton University Press, said the Tizra digital publishing platform was chosen for the project. This platform is flexible, open, and offers an intuitive content delivery approach, he said. “Equally important was creating a user-friendly reading experience.”

Original look and feel

Princeton University Press wanted to preserve the look and feel of the original volumes. "You’ll see the pages as they appear in the print volumes,” Reed said.

There is added functionality such as linking between the documentary edition and translation. Links are offered to the “Einstein Archives Online” and the ability to search across volumes in English or German.

The volumes were published by Princeton University Press and sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The California Institute of Technology weighed in with support for the digital project.

Follow Shahida Sweeney on Twitter: @ShahidaSweeney

Tags Tizra digital publishingAlbert Einsteindigital papersEinstein Archives OnlinePrinceton University PressDigital information managementEinstein Papers Project

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