Sunday, April 30, 2006

Turning the Pages

The British Library site suggests energy and activity. The homepage is well-organized, efficient and uncluttered directing users to What’s New, Go To, Site Search and Quick Links headings.

The focus of this blog is on Turning the Pages which is part of the Online Gallery http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/homepage.html. I found Turning the Pages absolutely engaging and possibly one of the best sites I’ve investigated during the semester. It’s been suggested to me that video and computer games use similar technology, but since I’ve never done either I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Turning the Pages is a digital collection made up of fifteen books/manuscripts that users can actually page through. Some of the current collection include: Jane Austen’s early works, the Diamond Sutra, sketches by Leonardo daVinci, Mozart’s Musical Diary, and the Original Alice. Turning the Pages uses touch-screen technology and interactive animation. Users can zoom in on the high-quality digitized images while reading or listening to information that explains each page. Some features are specific to the individual manuscripts. For example in the Leonardo daVinci notebook there is a button that turns the text around so users can read the 'mirror' handwriting. When viewing the Diamond Sutra, a scroll, users actually click, drag and hold the mouse to move the scroll backwards or forward. A slider at the bottom of the screen allows users to move quickly backwards and forwards through the book. In the Original Alice book you have the option of enlarging the hand written text enough so that it can actually be read. Turning the Pages uses a shockwave plug-in that can be downloaded for free on the site and some of the collections are available without shockwave.

Although Turning the Pages was originally developed by and for the British Library it is now available as a service for institutions around the world. The site reminds potential customers of the many advantages to be realized by converting books and manuscripts to Turning the Pages technology and discusses “increasing traffic to websites, attracting visitors, increasing access to collections while keeping originals safe under glass, as well as informing and entertaining audiences”.

If you have the time you won’t be disappointed by a visit to this site. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Wonderful technology! Looking at MASTERPIECE OF THE RENAISSANCE, I wish they had provided a translation.