Papers of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806 - 1859)

The University of Bristol, UK, holds over 33,000 pages in the Brunel Collection. This collection contains the personal papers of the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a key figure in the Industrial Revolution. However, despite its importance as a scholarly resource, no electronic catalogue of the collection exists and physical access is limited. In 2003 the University was awarded an AHRB resource enhancement grant to carry out a pilot digitization project to bring this resource to a wider audience via the Internet. This resource will be freely available online by Brunel's bicentenary in 2006. The aims of providing access to a larger audience and understanding more about such a key historical figure sit alongside the technical goals of an open source, open standard, easily extensible and migratable image database and electronic catalogue.

Principal investigator
Dr Mark Horton
Principal project staff
Dr Mark Chatwin Horton
Start date
Thursday, April 1, 2004
Completion date
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Source material
The source material is the University of Bristol's Brunel Collection, held in the Special Collections department of the University Library. This is the largest collection of the papers of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and consists of plans, sketchbooks, notebooks, diaries and letters, and is consulted by a wide audience, including academics, engineers, schoolchildren and Brunel enthusiasts. The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology is working closely with the Library to electronically capture and document part of the resource, and the Library will ultimately be responsible for curating the digital resource.

Devlin, Kate. "The Brunel Collection: piloting digital archiving". Proceedings of the IS&T Archiving Conference 2005, Washington DC, 26-29 April 2005.