UCL News


UCL Library Services help launch new Wellcome digitisation project

4 March 2013

UCL Library Services is working with the Wellcome Trust to collect together the papers of the pioneers of modern genetics through a new digitalisation project.


The project, which is named Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics, aims to provide a documentary record of modern genetics, not only from a scientific perspective, but also from political, economic, technological, social, cultural and personal viewpoints.

UCL has contributed over 80,000 images from UCL Special Collections, including digitised images of the papers of JBS Haldane and Lionel Sharples Penrose which will sit in the Wellcome Digital Library alongside the works of other key figures in modern genetics such as Francis Crick, James Watson, Rosalind Franklin and Fred Sanger.

In total, twenty archive collections relating to genetics research and biochemistry have been digitised. The content ranges in date from 1863 to 2008, and includes collections from UCL, Wellcome Library, Churchill Archives Centre, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, University of Glasgow and Kings College London.

As a result, more than 2.5 million images of diaries, notebooks, case studies, correspondence, research papers and published books are gradually being added to the Library website. This includes 1,600 key printed books on genetics and heredity and archives of 20 eminent geneticists, medical researchers and organisations.

Included in this list are JBS Haldane (1892-1964) and Lionel Penrose (1898-1972). Both were active in a critical era for genetics, making contributions to theoretical population genetics and genetics of mental deficiency respectively. 

In spring 2013 the materials will be turned into range of features on the Wellcome Library website, including a history of genetics timeline, peer-reviewed biographies and overviews of each archive collection.

For more information, visit the Wellcome Library website here.