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Blog This – British Library Virtual Books

Posted by joeabbott on March 2, 2014

Welcome to another Blog This entry. It’s been a long time since I’d done one of these … so long that I wrote a small piece about what these are so I could link to it in future posts.

imageToday’s item comes from January 2007, when a bit of mail was sent around Microsoft and found its way to a “cool stuff related to MSFT” email social group I had joined. This item was sent across as Bill Gates had worked with the British Library to bring about the digitization of some of their collections, in addition to a Leonardo Da Vinci codex he owned. While many of the links in that mail no longer work, I was able to visit the British Library site and find these resources nonetheless … and, just like back in 2007, I thought That’s cool … gotta remember this!

Head to the British Library web site … a nearly impossibly simple URL: As I noted, links change but I was able to find the resource I was looking for under the “Discover” section from the Turning the pages of our beautiful books link.

From the selections offered, I chose to view some of the Leonardo da Vinci items … the site will ask you how your browser is configured, making this slightly less user friendly for those who aren’t glib in the matters of browser configuration. Honestly, I chose the first option, it didn’t work, and so I went back and chose the second option and, delightfully, it did! In my case I had SilverLight installed.

imageimageAt this point you get to dive into some of the rare wonders of publishing history … pages from (in this case) Leonardo’s notebooks!

Some pages yield drawings that are familiar to any who have looked at Leonardo’s works previously, some are basic studies into entry level physics, and all rush you across time to a world that was quite different than the one we live in. Conveniences like notebooks, ink pens, and publishing all existed then, but in vastly different forms.

It’s a wonder that we can visit these beauties and a real credit to the British Library for investing in making some of these manuscripts and books accessible this way.

Do yourself a favor and head out to the British Library site and doodle around a bit in some of these great books. They have a lot of other resources (as you might glean from the menu image above) and it’s easy to spend some quality time here.

Enjoy and thanks for dropping by.


4 Responses to “Blog This – British Library Virtual Books”

  1. I was checking out this page. I took a look at the WWI page and did a little reading on the start of the war. Where the war started was the region where your great-grandfather Kraker came from. I’ll have to do a little more exploring of the dynamics that launched WWI. You’ve wetted my apatite for a little genealogy history of the family.

  2. Jay said

    At work now so I havent’ dug in much but it looks like a fantastic site. I will certainly come back when time allows. Thanks bro!

  3. joeabbott said

    @PAHShepherd … thanks for the note. I’ve always been interested in genealogy but I appear to be more interested than motivated! Please keep me apprised of what you learn … terribly interesting stuff! And @Jay … glad you made time to dip in. Some of the stuff I write about is marginally interesting at best but this British Library site is truly a marvel. Lots of good stuff out there!

  4. Momma said

    Amazing find – wish I had more time to peruse the books…

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