Turning the pages

Golf Book, pages 9-10

The The British Library is doing an excellent work in a project called Turning the Pages™. Turning the Pages is the award-winning interactive program that allows museums and libraries to give members of the public access to precious books while keeping the originals safely under glass.

Turning the Pages allows visitors to virtually ‘turn’ the pages of manuscripts in a realistic way, using touch-screen technology and interactive animation. They can zoom in on the high-quality digitised images and read or listen to notes explaining the beauty and significance of each page. There are other features specific to the individual manuscripts. In a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, for example, a button turns the text round so visitors can read his famous ‘mirror’ handwriting.

Until now there are 15 fantastic book rarities online – all links below are for users with broadband connections:

Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica – A landmark in medical history, Vesalius’s stunning 16th century anatomy.

Alice’s Adventures Underground – The original Alice, written and illustrated by Lewis Carroll.

Diamond Sutra – The oldest printed ‘book’, view the Diamond Sutra, printed in China in 868.

Elizabeth Blackwell’s Curious Herbal – Classic of botanical illustration, Elizabeth Blackwell’s remarkable Herbal.

Golden Haggadah – Glorious Hebrew prayer book, the lavishly illustrated Golden Haggadah.

Golf Book, an illustrated manuscript – Flemish masters in miniature, the superb so-called ‘Golf Book’.

Jane Austen’s History of England – Jane Austen’s early work, the History of England in her own hand.

Leonardo da Vinci notebook – Sketches by Leonardo, see the genius’s personal notebook.

Lindisfarne Gospels – Pinnacle of Anglo-Saxon art, the priceless Lindisfarne Gospels.

Luttrell Psalter – Glimpses of Medieval life, selections from the famous Luttrell Psalter.

Mercator’s Atlas of Europe – First Atlas of Europe, compiled by Mercator in the 1570s.

Mozart’s Thematic Catalogue – Mozart’s musical diary, with 75 audio excerpts.

Sforza Hours – Masterpiece of the Renaissance, beautiful images from the Sforza Hours.

Sherborne Missal – Outstanding 15th-century church book, the wonderful, and weighty, Sherborne Missal.

Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an Baybars’ magnificent Qur’An, epitome of sumptuous Arabic calligraphy.

There are more 3 rare books at this page: Wellcome Apocalypse, Nujum al-‘Ulum (Stars of Sciences) and On Cutaneous Diseases by Robert Willan.

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4 Responses to Turning the pages

  1. peacay says:

    Of all people, I should be more appreciative of this material…I guess. I mean, I’m thankful that you laid them all out – made me look at a couple of things.
    But! I don’t much like the ‘turning the pages’ series. The images are so small, no zoom and when they do offer non-flash versions, they only let you see a single page (Wellcome).
    The British Library has maybe 0.000003% [yes, I’m exaggerating..no, I don’t know] of its holdings available online – it is my least favourite library in the world (of the big libraries). Regional libraries in France have just about as much material digitized.
    OK, now I feel better ;- )
    But thanks BiBi, your work as always was great!

  2. peacay says:

    Ooops..I withdraw the comment about the zoom. Heh – maybe I shouldn’t complain. They are great works for sure.
    It just makes it hard for a magpie like me to pick off images 😉

  3. Bibi says:

    😀 Well, since I can’t go there to see the books, I’m happy to see them on-line. I like the work that New York Public library did, putting so many material available. Our libraries here don’t have money – or time, or they just don’t want or didn’t think – to put an extensive and interesting material on-line. It’s funny, I know that they wasted a lot of time digitalizing materials to sell them in books, but they aren’t available, not even for the public in general here. I’m always angry about that. :-/

  4. peacay says:

    Maybe the best of Brazil books are in Portugal anyway. Same with Indonesia –>Holland etc etc. USA have more % of holdings online. Of course they are richer. That is why the British Library annoys me so much — they have the best material stolen from everywhere in the world !!

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