4. Why compare the copies?

The British Library's website makes it possible to compare our two copies. This is useful to specialist scholars. No evidence survives to tell us how Gutenberg actually worked, except the books themselves. By comparing them we can find differences which tell us something about how the work was done.

In the past such differences have taught us about the three major changes which took place during the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. More information on these changes.

The chief benefit from digitisation is, however, the unlimited access to some of the British Library's greatest treasures. The books are now over 500 years old and we want them to last for at least as long again. That means that we cannot allow many people to touch the originals. Previously not even all scholars who specialised in books from the 15th century could see them. Now everyone can examine them in much greater detail than it was ever possible in a reading room.

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