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January 10, 2011

British Library launches first smartphone app for iPhone, Android, iPad users

Users can access the rich collection of the Library's Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery

By CBR Staff Writer

The British Library has launched its first smartphone app called ‘Treasures’, which will present a rich selection of the items featured in the Library’s Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery.

The new app created in association with Toura, a provider of technology platform for mobile guides, will provide users an opportunity for interaction with the Library’s collections at home, on the move or within the Gallery itself.

British Library Treasures App_1

Treasures app will be available across multiple mobile platforms including iPhone, Android and iPad.

The app will provide a 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.

Users will now be able to access 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.

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Users can watch videos of explorer Ben Fogle talking about Scott’s Diary and Linguist David Crystal discussing the 1,000 year old poem Beowulf.

Key historical documents include 2000-year-old Oracle Bones from China and an original Magna Carta of 1215, while literary highlights include Charles Dickens’s handwritten draft of Nicholas Nickleby and Jane Austen’s teenage writings.

British Library Treasures App_2

Manuscript scores from some of the best-known classical composers, such as Handel, Purcell, Mozart and Schubert, alongside hand-written lyrics by The Beatles are included in the section devoted to music.

Christian texts include the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Gutenberg Bible, while 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.

British Library director of Strategic Marketing & Communications Frances Brindle said access to their collections through mobile technologies is an exciting initiative for the library.

"The Library is committed to increasing access to its collections and broadening the reach of our services and this app demonstrates our commitment to engaging with the mobile community," Brindle said.

Toura’s CEO Aaron Radin said with Toura technology enabling the Treasures app, the British Library’s impressive body of knowledge will have a global reach – opening up the doors for unprecedented learning and discovery through dynamic video, images, text and audio features across all mobile platforms.

Treasures will be available for download globally on iPhone and iPod Touch, in the iTunes App and in the Android Marketplace for £2.39, while the HD version is available for download globally for iPad for a price of £3.49.

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