That's so gorgeous!

One thing that doesn't get talked about much in the conversation around digitizing books is the increasing appetite for resolution.

Even pre-computers, it was widely believed as far back as the 1920s that once you've photographed something for microfilm, there's no need to keep the original; the US Census Bureau threw out their originals, even though many of the pages were blurred or obscured by the technician's hand. Millions of newspapers were discarded after crappy reproductions as well -- to say nothing of color.

More recently, you get people just in the past decade who think, or thought, that a 640x480 JPG was more detail than anyone would ever need. Google books are pretty awful, but they're promoting the idea that they're "done" once they've scanned something.

This book proves the lie. It's so gorgeous, not just intelligently laid out, like the book, but with incredible panning close-ups. Nice find, Paul.
Well, there goes any possibility of me having a productive afternoon.
This reminds me of Nicholson Baker's lament about how, when the brittle-paper hype first struck librarians, they disassembled for scanning hundreds of thousands of rare books and periodicals, and then either pulped the loose pages or auctioned them to private collectors. I'm glad this book appears to have been kept intact during scanning.
@3, that's exactly what I was thinking. Also, his collection of color comics sections from newspapers, back when they were truly spectacular productions -- a full page for each strip -- all of which were rescued from the trash after they were scanned "good enough", in black and white and low resolution. The attitude of librarians everywhere was "eh, comics, newspapers, who gives a shit".
Eureka, @4! It had slipped my mind that he and his wife used part of their rescued trove (now safely at Duke) to publish "The World on Sunday : Graphic Art in Joseph Pulitzer's Newspaper (1898 - 1911)". I'll soon have a copy thanks to your reminder. Cheers.
if you don't give a shit about birds you have no eye for detail and i pity you.
ha! - what 6 said.

and, while the virtual book is fantastic, i'm there are many other out-of-print natural history illustration volumes that should get the same treatment. i love seeing how our attitudes, knowledge of and access to nature changed the way we actually see (and draw) it.
pls insert *sure* appropriately for 7
Paul, the British Library (and many of the UK university libraries) have been doing this for years. There are council grants that they can apply for to get funding to digitize collections, and the works are amazing. For example: If you read any German or Dutch or Italian, many of the manuscript libraries there have also digitized their collections ( Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna --

Codicologists have been doing these kinds of projects for ages, because digitized manuscripts mean greater access with much less handling of the actual object. It has become a way to preserve these codices for future generations. I'm just glad to see that American institutions are starting to do this with younger works, too.
awesome, let's do some shooters!
I like the zooming-in interface. Nicely designed.

This is where the iPad will beat out any of its competitors: as a publisher you can create this kind of custom experience on it. And imagine how much more fluid this would feel on a touch-screen.
It's funny of you to say that, @11, because this interface is Flash, which means the iPad won't be able to display it. So much for beating out any competitors.
That's a nice app from Michigan, but props are due to its source: the beautiful scanned images at Pitt from its double elephant folio collection of Birds of America and its companion, Ornithological Biography.…
Yes, Fnarf, but it does support objective C and has a great graphics engine You've seen what an iPhone can do, right? You surely don't doubt it's capable of this.

BTW: I, too, am annoyed that iPad doesn't support Flash. I'm not going to buy something that doesn't let me watch the videos on Slog. But that doesn't make it incapable of this type of interaction. I just hope that publishers take advantage of what they have.
@7 and 6
I also think our artistic portrayals of natural elements have a lot to do with our perception of them. Audubon was a hunter and paid hunters and taxidermists for his specimens.
When we enjoy his birds, we are enjoying the Bodies exhibition.
correction: Audubon was also a taxidermist, so he likely did some of that work himself.
@14, yes, but you're still using a great example of X to show why Y is better than X, which makes no sense.

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