Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Turn the pages of British Library treasures at new on-line digital gallery

Leaf through the oldest printed 'book,' and other treasures from the British Library though its new digital gallery, Turning the Pages. From Elizabeth Grant at the AHA Blog:
The British Library is reaching out to readers online by allowing them to digitally “leaf through our great books” on their Turning the Pages page. Through the use of Adobe’s Shockwave player, visitors can interactively page through exceptional digital copies of a number of volumes from the library’s collections. Works like the first atlas of Europe, the Diamond Sutra hailed as the “oldest printed book,” and the original Alice’s Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll. The Shockwave format allows readers “turn pages” with their mouse, making the illusion of reading a book online more real. The contents of each work are expanded upon through the use of the “text,” “magnify,” and “audio” buttons at the bottom of each page, which when clicked on respectively explain, enhance, and read to the user. Some works have even more features. For example, “Mozart’s Musical Diary” is presented with 75 audio clips to go along with the written music in his journal. Turning the Pages is a creative and innovative web experience that definitely deserves a look.
The AHA Blog has great examples, here. This is a very cool new resource. Once you download the software, you can use your mouse to actually unroll a Chinese scroll from the year 868 here. Or turn the pages of the illustrated medieval manuscript the Luttrell Psalter here.