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The British Library is bringing some of the world's rarest books online, with the intent of giving as wide an audience as possible the most accurate experience of reading the real thing.
Turning the Pages is a unique piece of software designed to allow readers to look at rare books in a natural way. With Turning the Pages, users can read the books in their original format, almost exactly as they were intended to be read by their original audience.
So far, the library has been able to digitise and transfer around 20 books into Turning the Pages, although the programme could eventually encompass millions of books. The interface presents the books as if they were physically present on the screen, with controls for moving through the book as though the pages were being turned.
Another important concept behind the Turning the Pages programme is that books are chosen that will be of great value to the viewing public.
The example above shows the handwritten dedication page from Alice's Adventures Under Ground, the original title of Alice in Wonderland. Charles Dodgson (also known as Lewis Carroll) wrote the book at the request of the daughter of one of his friends.
Photo credit: British Library