Sunday, February 18, 2007

Turning The Pages

Yesterday, while reading the Montreal's Gazette, I discovered a very interesting webpage created by the British Library: Turning The Pages.

The BL has digitalized several of their most interesting and valuable books (at least sixteen of them so far) and anyone can browse them on the net. I means literaly browse them: you see a picture of the book and you can turn the page like if the book was really there!

All you need is broadband and a Shockwave plug-in.

At first, I was disappointed. On the main page they were talking about the new version for Vista and I was afraid that it was another of those sites that were useless for us, Mac users. I decided to click on one of the books offered, just in case. And it worked! For Mac, it works directly and you don't need to install anything if you already have the Shockwave plug-in for Safari. And it is REALLY amazing!

As example, here's the Sforza Hours book:

You use the cursor of the mouse to turn the pages (hence the name) with a cute animated effect. You have three buttons at the bottom right of the screen that allow you to see an explanation on the text, hear the same explanation or have a magnifier that you can move around to see in more details the texts or illustrations!

You can browse through a Leonardo's sketchbook, a Mozart's musical dairy, the original Alice by Lewis Carroll, Mercator's Atlas Of Europe, etc. Bravo to the British Library for making such treasure available to the masses!

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