Home to the world’s knowledge and some of the rarest and most unique written and printed treasures, the British Library launched its first smartphone app. Created in conjunction with Toura, a leading technology platform for mobile guides, the ‘Treasures’ app, will present a rich selection of the items featured in the Library’s Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery, providing the opportunity for interaction with the Library’s collections at home, on the move or within the Gallery itself.
Treasures will be available across multiple mobile platforms including iPhone, Android and iPad. It will provide a truly multimedia experience including over 100 of the Library’s greatest collection items, 250 high-definition images, over 40 videos providing expert commentary, textual interpretation for deeper understanding, as well as up to date information about the Library’s current exhibitions.
Through the app users will experience an up close and personal experience with some of the Library’s most unique items, such as the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the world’s oldest bible Codex Sinaiticus, Nelson’s Battle Plan, written before his victory at Trafalgar, Galileo’s letters and Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks. Expert commentary is provided on many of the items and users can watch, for example, videos of explorer Ben Fogle talking about Scott’s Diary and Linguist David Crystal discussing the 1,000 year old poem Beowulf.
Literary highlights include Charles Dickens’s handwritten draft of Nicholas Nickleby and Jane Austen’s teenage writings, while key historical documents include 2000-year-old Oracle Bones from China and an original Magna Carta of 1215. The section devoted to music includes manuscript scores from some of the best-known classical composers, such as Handel, Purcell, Mozart and Schubert.
Christian texts include the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Gutenberg Bible. Other faiths are represented by the Golden Haggadah, Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an, and Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Sikh and Zoroastrian manuscripts. The scientific documents explore fields such as astronomy, botany, zoology and medicine. They include manuscripts, notebooks and letters that reveal some of the key scientific developments of all time, including Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, and Copernicus’s and Galileo’s findings on the structure of the cosmos.
Treasures will be available for download globally on iPhone and iPod Touch, in the iTunes App and in the Android Marketplace. More information can be found at www.bl.uk/app.
The Library hopes to develop Treasures in the future with further enhancements and will update the content as its exhibition programme changes.