The British Library's online turn-up for the books

The British Library's online turn-up for the books

Summary: With Microsoft's help, the British Library is using Turning the Pages software to make its treasures available to as many people as possible

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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  • Turning the Pages in progress.

    Photo credit: British Library

  • With Turning the Pages, you can smoothly unravel this ancient scroll and notice how, as one roll gets thinner, the other gets fatter.

    Until now, only academics, operating under strict environmental rules for the purpose of preservation, have had this experience.

    Photo credit: British Library

  • As well as some of the oldest and rarest books, the library can also lay claim to some of the most beautiful works of the illustrator's art, such as this medieval text. You can read the book and the written text in your own language, while fully appreciating the aesthetic experience.

    With some 20 books already in the Turning the Pages catalogue, the plan is to add many more. For the coming years, a target of 200 additions has been mentioned.

    Getting the books ready for viewing takes a lot of scanning and compiling work, but the end result is truly spectacular.

    Photo credit: British Library

Topic: Tech Industry


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Silverlight: bah

    Annoying that the tax=payer funded British Library is pushing Microsoft proprietary tech. Mind you they were big supporters of OOXML, so MS obviously have someone on the inside.


    A disgruntled Linux User
  • Where is Linux in the equation?

    It is a good point. Where does Linux feature in the BL's plans?
    The answer is that it doesn't and for a reason and many would say that it is not a good reason.
    The British Library funtions with a combination of public money (yes, we taxpayers do fund much of it) and private donations. The donations come from lots of different people including Microsoft who contribute a shed load of money to the work there.
    So on the one hand, Microsoft cannot tell the BL to do certain things or it will not give it the cash. But it can say, our money will go on this project (but not these others) so if you want the money do projects we like. It is then up to the Library to choose.
    My suggestion for open source and Linux fans is imple. Send the Library some money and tell them you want an open source version of Turning the Pages. That is what I am doing.
    But don't blame the library for not doing a project it does not have the money for. It has many other projects on its plate and not just Turning the Pages.
    In no way is that a perfect solution and I am sure there must be a better one.
    Colin Barker
  • Turning the pages

    I read the North Wales Pioneer, Llandudno edition , E-version, and they use Page Suite, which is Macromedia flash. It works very well. I plan on trying out the BL's site very soon, as I am fascinated by old books.
  • Turning pages.

    Missing a plugin called, applicatio/xdirector, in Mozilla Firefox, on Linux. So, it would appear it is only for windows until Firefox has the plugin. I really think major sites should be cross platform and not OS specific. But, that's not the Microsoft way.