Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sacred Texts Online

The British Library has made available in digitized form online over 70 sacred texts from ancient and contemporary world religions.

The link to the online collection can be accessed for free here.

Notably, the curators of this online resource have included both aesthetic and kinesthetic elements in the display, such as the ability to "turn" virtual pages of the texts, as if flipping through a "real" codex.

These attempts to make virtual texts more "book like" are worth exploring.  They involve resources of time, programming, and storage space--not to mention considerable extra monetary investments in website development.  How well, I wonder, do the curators research the desire, or "need," for this sort of feature before implementation?  Or do they simply assume that these sorts of functionalities are needed to make the site more appealing?

I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts on these questions.

1 comment:

Jim Watts said...

Yes, the British Library online exhibit is fantastic. But it also illustrates the difficulty of keeping up internet publications and e-books with rapidly changing technology. The BL's "Turning the Pages" software was stunning when it was introduced some years ago. It's still amazing to be able to see all the pages of these texts, but now the images appear rather low resolution and the Shockwave Flash application a bit clumsy. The high-res pictures of selected pages are much better, but do not cover entire manuscripts...