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17 June 2013

Innovation in geographical context: the Cambridge Network collection

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Most people have heard of Silicon Valley, the area of northern California famous for its concentration of technology companies, both well established and newly started. The term has in more recent years been applied to the area around Cambridge ("Silicon Fen") and perhaps most recently there has appeared "Silicon Roundabout", just a short distance from us here at the British Library. These three examples point towards the key importance of geographical proximity for economic development and for innovation in particular.

We are particularly pleased to to have started to capture some of the web archival record for the cluster of companies, educational institutions and other organisations associated with the Cambridge Network. We were particularly pleased to have been able to work with the Network, which exists to bring business and academia together to facilitate the sharing of ideas, and to encourage collaboration and partnership.

Not surprisingly, many parts of the University of Cambridge are represented in the collection, such as the Centre for Business Research or the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE).  There are the sites of organisations whose purpose is to facilitate knowledge exchange in general, such as the UK Innovation Research Centre or the Huntingdonshire Business Network. And there are sites from local government, the law, financial services, the charitable sector and the many other parts that go to make up the rich ecology of business in a local area.

And of course there are the companies themselves. Some are well-known, the majority are not. But of the 715 organisations represented in the collection, it may be that some of them grow to become household names. This collection will hopefully be of great value in capturing a snapshot of innovation in progress in a particular geographical area. Browse the collection here.