Science Museum agrees to digitise Charles Babbage's sketches

21/09/2011

London's Science Museum has agreed to plans which will see the sketches and notes made by Charles Babbage digitised and made publicly available.

The announcement comes after campaigners looking to create a fully-functional version of Babbage's Analytic Engine asked the museum for access to his designs located in its archives.

Designed in the 1830s, the engine was set to be the grandfather of computing's most ambitious creation, building on his earlier work to create a machine with processing and output capabilities.

Babbage's notepads and sketch books are currently held in the Science Museum's archives, but have never been converted into an accessible form.
It is hoped that the digitised documents will help researchers around the world pick apart the many ideas within them and settle on the definitive version of the Analytic Engine.

'There are some complete plans, they are just not totally complete. There will be a degree of interpretation,' said John Graham-Cumming, the project's main champion.