What an amazing resource this is, delivered up free to us on our iPads.
The British Library has developed this deceptively simple app in association with BiblioLabs. Assistance was also given by Microsoft, which provided resouces to the Library for the scanning process.
Here the genius is not in the interface, which is fairly pedestrian, but in the concept of providing astonishingly direct access to a thousand books from the Library’s 19th Century collection, exactly reproduced from scans of the original works.
Full high-res scans of 1,000 books would of course eat up way too much storage on the iPad. Part of the genius is the way that you can search for and select works and only then begin a progressive download. Only if you place a work on your “bookshelf” is it retained locally. Read more…
Just a quick comment, really.
I haven’t yet been able to get my hands on an Apple iPad (here are the reasons why I want one), but I have been surprised at comments from people I respect (like John Gruber of Daring Fireball) who say that they find the iPad a bit too heavy to hold while reading an e-book for extended periods.
Now, as I say, I haven’t handled one yet, and maybe it’s a bit too slick and slippy to hold. But come on, one and a half pounds isn’t heavy for a book. I went to my library and weighed a few hardback books.
Here’s the result:
|John Gillingham’s “The War of the Roses”
|Barbara Tuchman’s “The March of Folly”
|Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell”
I haven’t had any trouble at all reading the above physical books, though admittedly “Jonathan Strange” can start to get a little uncomfortable after a while. But it is twice the weight of an iPad.
It was good to find a book which weighs exactly the same as the iPad – allowed me to get a good feel for the heft of the device. “The War of the Roses” is lightweight for a hardback, perfectly comfortable to hold and read for hours at a time.