Saturday, January 28, 2006

Turning the Pages

The British Library has got an online exhibition here called "Turning the Pages". Some of the Library's most beautiful books have been put on the web, including the Lindisfarne Gospels and Leonardo da Vinci's sketchbook.

Probably shouldn't grumble but they are using specially commissioned viewing software that is supposed to simulate the feel of reading a book. It is flashy but it takes ages to download and then you have to fiddle about with a silly magnifying glass to see any detail. I suspect some company got paid a lot of money to make something flashy when a simple bit of html would have sufficed. Even something as basic and ugly as this does a better job of what is after all the purpose of the viewer: letting people see these beautiful manuscripts.

Anyway, the books are lovely.


Anonymous said...

The actual 'Turning the Pages' computer console in the British Library is not that easy to use either -- it's, erm, difficult to turn the pages electronically. Still, if it gets people interested...

Nonjatta said...

Might nip into the British Library when I am back in the UK to have a go of this console. Wouldn't it have been better to have facsimiles of the books available for people to really get the book experience. Seems to be virtualising something for the sake of it