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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Visit Beautiful Old Books From the Comfort of Home

Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes, de Diverses Couleu  - 1719 - Renard, Louis (author) - Amsterdam - The Warnock Library
Posted by Alana T.

Do you love old books - really, really old books?  Jump over to  This educational site provides access to high quality digital scans of some of the great books of the world.  Where else would you get the chance to see Copernicus' book describing the earth orbiting the sun, Shakespeare's First Folios, and copies of Beethoven's sheet music?

From their home page: "Over the last decade, a company called "Octavo" digitally photographed some of the world ’s great books from some of the greatest libraries. These books were photographed at very high resolution (in some cases at over 200 megabytes per page). This site contains all of the books (about 400) that have been digitized to date. These range over a wide variety of topics and rarity. The books are presented so that the viewer can examine all the pages in medium to medium-high resolution."

Old books are a source of much fascination with the public.  Popular novels have been written about the mysterious, lost book, collectors spend fortunes buying rare books at auction, and a near endless supply of myths circulate featuring ancient tomes.  Interestingly, few people get a chance to see a real example of an old book.  The experience can be both awe-inspiring and disappointing.  The books themselves can be stunning (beautiful, hand-done illustrations, intricate bindings), but they can be difficult to read.  And be advised, most of these books are not written in English.  Still, they are beautiful. Jump over and take a look.

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