The Israel Antiquities Authority has tapped Google to digitize the famous Dead Sea scrolls, some of the oldest documents ever discovered chronicling the early years of Christianity.
CNN reports that Google will be responsible for scanning the 900 manuscripts, which are comprized of more than 30,000 fragments discovered in caves around Israel in the 1940s and 1950s.
Israeli researchers have come to worry about the ability of the scrolls to endure further photography, as exposure to light and air has a negative effect on the paper. Google will use spectral and infrared scanning techniques to make a digital copy of the scrolls, which will then be made available to the public online, according to the report.
Google was sued in 2005 for scanning 20th-century books with unexpired copyrights, and a final approval of that settlement with groups representing authors and publishers is still pending before a US judge. The issue of unexpired copyright is unlikely to be a problem with the Dead Sea scrolls, which date from between 150BC and 70AD.
For more on this story, read Google chosen to digitize Dead Sea Scrolls on CNET News.