Internet sites selected for the readers of Duke University Libraries
Turning the Pages
Some of England's most spectacular treasures are now accessible as never before. The British Library has made available on the Internet ten items from its unique interactive display system, "Turning the Pages," allowing Internet users to experience these works in a way similar to that in which visitors to the Library's Exhibition Galleries in London run their fingers over the computer screen and 'turn' images from these works.
Turning the Pages brings together on the Web treasures of several world cultures that are represented in Britain today: the Diamond Sutra (Buddhism), Sultan Baybars' Qur'an (Islam), the Golden Haggadah (Judaism), plus the Lindisfarne Gospels, Sherborne Missal, Luttrell Psalter and Sforza Hours (Christianity), along with scientific works (Leonardo da Vinci's Notebook, Elizabeth Blackwell's Herbal and Andreas Vesalius's De Humani Corporis Fabrica, a rare sixteenth century treatise on anatomy).
Moving a mouse, a Web user can virtually 'turn' a selection of images from the pages of these rare books and manuscripts in a highly realistic way, using touch-screen technology and animation (Users will also need to have Macromedia Flash installed and running). Viewers can zoom in on the high-quality digitized images and read or listen to notes explaining the significance of each page. There are other features specific to the individual books. In the Leonardo Notebook, for example, a mirror button turns the text around so visitors can read his famous mirror handwriting.
HistoryWired: A Few of Our Favorite Things
The Smithsonian has millions of artifacts stored in warehouses, inaccessible to the public. But now it has made a small portion of these objects virtually available with a Web site called HistoryWired, which enables visitors to select the ones that interest them from an eclectic collection including famous, unusual, and everyday items, each with a story to tell (the selection is not meant to be representative of the entire collection).
With a mouse click, curators explain the items' significance while the viewer examines them. The interface is a Java-enabled object map resembling an enormous jigsaw puzzle that is composed of different-sized rectangles containing dozens of other rectangles, each representing an object that can be viewed. Moving the mouse over any rectangle produces an image of its contents. Clicking any of the category headings, e.g., "Art," Commerce," "Leisure," or "Medicine" will highlight the rectangles containing relevant materials.
Readers may find this site especially helpful when planning summer travel. MuseumStuff.com is the one-stop shop for museum information, where Internet users can discover and explore thousands of museums and related resources around the country. This search engine offers links to various museums, virtual exhibitions, museum events, fun-and-game sites for secondary and post-secondary students, and educational links. The museum links are arranged in three separate categories - art, history, and science. The virtual exhibition section offers fifty-five topics ranging from African American, to ceramics, to evolution, to motorcycles, to religion, to zoos/animals. Viewers can search for museum events by organization name, month, and specific day, or a combination of selections.
Thanks to Emily Jackson Sanborn for suggesting the first site above, and to the Internet Scout Project for identifying the other sites. (Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2004. http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/ ). If you would like to recommend a Web site for inclusion in a future issue of Duke University Libraries, contact Joline Ezzell at firstname.lastname@example.org.