Posted by: mattcolvin | February 17, 2013

Manuscripts on the iPad

I’ve lately discovered that the iPad is a perfect tool for viewing digitized versions of famous manuscript books.

First is 20130217-162433.jpg

The Book of Kells, shown above. It is a beautiful presentation of a beautiful book. Contains the entire manuscript, every page, as a digital book that can be leafed through just like any other book on your iPad. (See above for a screenshot showing the page-turning effect at work.) Also includes high-resolution zoomable images of the most decorated pages, and an organized gallery of detail pictures of illuminated capitals. It has the best interface and content of any of the iPad manuscript books I’ve seen. $13 on the App Store.

Also nice is the Bavarian State Library’s Oriental Treasures. Has the advantage of being free.

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek’s Famous Books.

Royal Manuscripts: the Genius of Illumination.

Turning the Pages: rare books from the National Institute of Health.

Imaging the Iliad presents a digital version of Venetus A, the most important manuscript of Homer’s Iliad. Unfortunately, requires an internet connection to download a higher-resolution image any page when you try to zoom. Also accompanied by a poor translation in flowing text that takes up half the screen.

I’d like to see iPad versions of the Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta, the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Barry, Codex Sinaiticus, and the copy of Manuel Philes’ Historia Animalium penned by Ange Vergéce and illustrated by his daughter. I hope future iPad manuscript editions follow the model of the Kells app.

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