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Ideal Use of Internet Technology: Turning The Pages

(yes, something not related to spam)

I had seen and recommended before the British Library’s Turning the Pages site, but was recently reminded of it in an email exchange. To me this is one of the prime examples of what the Internet can provide- a rich interactive experience with a resource that would not be readily available to most teachers and students. When I shared this site internally with my Maricopa faculty contact list, it was one of the resources I got the most excited and enthusiastic responses from.

Turning the Pages provides almost a real book-like experience (okay, some may argue that it is not the same on screen) with rare and ancient texts (e.g. Leonardo DaVinci’s Notebooks, the 14th Centrury “Golden Haggadah”, from China, the “Diamond Sutra” , which penned in 868 is the world’s oldest printed book, and the Arabic style of “Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an”) in a format that allows anyone on the net to access them- no fees, no registration, no ads….

Turning the Pages allows visitors to virtually ‘turn’ the pages of manuscripts in a realistic way, using touch-screen technology and interactive animation. They can zoom in on the high- quality digitised images and read or listen to notes explaining the beauty and significance of each page. There are other features specific to the individual manuscripts. In a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, for example, a button turns the text round so visitors can read his famous ‘mirror’ handwriting.

While it makes use of Macromedia’s Shockwave plug-in, it comes available in hi-speed and low-speed versions for your connection, and the Museum is at work on creating an accessible version as well. (As a fan and once avid user of Macromedia Director / Shockwave since the mid 1990s, I like to see good stuff comes in something other than vapid Flash).

A rich resource, unusual and rare content, and an environment more than the swill of click-next-and-read multimedia which is till the norm– this one is a keeper.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.