In keeping with its professed aim of digitizing the real world, so that it is accessible, indexed, and searchable online, Google has collaborated with the Israel Museum, and brought the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls online - check them out here.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by historians to be the oldest known biblical manuscripts in existence, dating back to the third century BCE and first century CE. The scrolls were discovered in eleven caves on the shores of the Dead Sea, between 1947 and 1956, and have provided scarcely known details about the Second Temple Period, alongside the birth of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.
Five complete scrolls have been digitized so far, with The Great Isaiah Scroll the only one featuring the translation option. More will presumably, follow. Accessible by all, the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project allows users to examine these ancient treatises in great detail, with fast-loading, searchable high-res images, and soon, complete translations. Users will soon also be able to submit translations in their own languages.
Also provided alongside are explanatory videos, background information on the texts and their history. The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project is certainly a laudable effort by Google, and history buffs have inarguably been given a rich new source of excitement, sitting in the comfort of their homes. We look forward to other treasured and preserved works making their way online, to be preserved indefinitely digitally, and available to all.