Development of iNQUIRE prototype site for the RKD

Earlier this year we were honoured to work with the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) to develop a prototype site for them to allow online access to some of their magnificent artwork collection. Located in The Hague, the RKD is home to the largest art history center in the world, specializing in documentation, archives, and books on Western art from the late Middle Ages until the modern era. Much of their content has been digitized and is available on the RKD website, with their main aim being to collect, categorize, and make art research available, most notably in the field of Dutch Masters.

The prototype site developed by Armadillo uses iNQUIRE, our digital discovery framework, to deliver a fast and fluid search and discovery experience. The site makes use of extensive facet and tag based searching in both Dutch and English. Naturally the site also leverages the IIIF Image API.

iNQUIRE RKD Prototype Search Page
iNQUIRE RKD Prototype Search Page
iNQUIRE RKD Prototype Detail Page
iNQUIRE RKD Prototype Detail Page

The Royal Society launch Robert Hooke’s Micrographia using Turning the Pages online

Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665) is one of the most iconic books in the prestigious collections at the Royal Society. It gives the reader a glimpse in to the field of microscopy, which was rapidly developing at the time. Micrographia or, to give it its full, less succinct name, some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies made by Magnifying Glasses, with Observations and Inquiries thereupon, is written and illustrated with 38 intricate copperplate engravings, to this day the volume remains a landmark in the history of microscopy. Hooke was the Royal Society’s Curator of Experiments at the time, and describes in an engaging manner how he used his microscope to discover the detailed structure of rocks, plants and, most famously, insects. The Royal Society’s first edition was given a much needed restoration in 2019.

This week the Royal Society is broadcasting their Summer Science Online programme which celebrates science from home. Armadillo Systems are very proud to announce that the opening presentation from this event is the digital version of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia using our Turning the Pages Online application. This digital version allows you to turn the pages of the original book, and expand the fold out pages to reveal the incredible illustrations.

The Summer Science Online video presentation can be viewed by clicking the video link below. The Royal Society’s Digital Resources Manager, Louisiane Ferlier, gives an in depth introduction to the book, why it was so significant at the time, and how it’s still relevant today.

Find out more about the Royal Society’s edition of Micrographia here, and follow this link to view the online Micrographia Turning the Pages.

Royal Society - Hooke's Micrographia (folded illustrated page)
Royal Society – Hooke’s Micrographia (folded illustrated page)
Royal Society - Hooke's Micrographia (unfolded illustrated page)
Royal Society – Hooke’s Micrographia (unfolded illustrated page)

The Royal Society Charter Book launched as online Turning the Pages

Timed to coincide with their Admission Day 2019, where their newly-elected Fellows will be admitted, the Royal Society have launched a Turning the Pages version of the very special book that sits at the heart of the ceremony. The Charter Book is arguably the Society’s most important historical document, initially created in 1663 after King Charles II granted a second Royal Charter to the organisation, establishing the structure of the Society. Bound in crimson leather with gilt clasps and corners the magnificent vellum folio has recorded the signatures of new Fellows and Foreign Members as they were elected year by year, as well as those of Royal Patrons, with the first signature recorded on its pages on 9 January 1665.

The online Turning the Pages edition facilitates a unique opportunity to browse through what must be the world’s most amazing collection of scientific autographs, giving a faithful reproduction of each one of the pages signed between 1665 and 2018. This particular Turning the Pages features an index of the signatories which has been added to facilitate navigation, allowing you to quickly locate which page your favourite scientist has signed their name.

Find out more about the Royal Society’s Charter Book here, and follow this link to view the online Charter Book Turning the Pages.

The Royal Society - Charter Book
The Royal Society – Charter Book

British Library: Save our Sounds

The nation’s sound collections are under threat, both from physical degradation and as the means of playing them disappear from production. Global archival consensus is that we have approximately 15 years in which to save our sound collections by digitising them before they become unplayable and are effectively lost. Armadillo have written a custom backend system which is helping The British Library preserve the nation’s Sound Archive, an extraordinary collection of over 6.5 million recordings of speech, music, wildlife and the environment, from the 1880s to the present day. Find out more about our work on the British Library AV SIP Tool here.

Using Turning the Pages to Explore Stained Glass Windows

Stained glass windows are beautiful and striking features of many churches, mosques, libraries and other significant buildings. They are also wonderful feats of skillful artistry and engineering, often depicting important events in religion, history, science and art. Have you ever seen one, admired its beauty, but wondered what was the cultural significance the scene being depicted? They can be hard to explore and examine in detail in situ in their parent building.

University College Cork (UCC) have one such window dedicated to George Boole, one of the fathers of the information age, where he was a professor. UCC approached Armadillo Systems to see if there was a way of making their window into an explorable and explanatory touchscreeen interactive. Turning the Pages technology is ideally suited to this, as it can also be used for flat objects. We added in a custom hotspot highlighting system so each pane of the window could be examined individually, with the app also having associated media relating to George Boole’s impact on modern society, and details on the preservation of the window itself. Watch the below video to see the interactive window application in action.

Museums Association Conference and Exhibition 2017

Armadillo Systems will be attending the Museums Association Conference and Exhibition 2017, on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th November 2017 at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. We are available all day to discuss your digital library needs, and we will have all our products available for demonstration, including the Saint John’s Bible TTP 4K Gallery running on a very snazzy Microsoft Surface Studio. So if you are attending the conference come and see us at stand 74!

iNQUIRE Now Available on GitHub

iNQUIRE is a digital research platform, designed to surface any digital repository using any metadata schema. Coded in ASP.NET MVC and with a responsive HTML5/Knockout frontend, it utilises the power of a Solr index via RESTful requests. It’s a customisable framework designed to fast-track your digital access ambitions, whatever file formats, schemas and repositories you use. Now supporting the IIIF Presentation API and Image API. The code has now been made available  on GibHub.

Bodleian Digital Library Launched

The Bodleian Library have launched their new unified digital collections platform, Digital.Bodleian, powered by iNQUIRE. For the first time, it is possible to search and browse the Bodleian’s online special collections via a single interface. The site was launched at an event in the new Weston Library, with a lecture by Bruno Racine, president of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (whose Gallica is a well-established giant of digital library collections), and a speech by BDLSS’s own Lucie Burgess. Go and have a have a look at the Digital.Bodleian website!

eBookTreasures iOS App

eBookTreasures is a collection of the greatest books in the world, made available as digital facsimiles. Initially this is for iPad, but we’re looking at other platforms as they emerge. We’re working with the British Library, Royal Society, Natural History Museum and many others to bring you these rare and beautiful books. Find out more on the eBookTreasures website or Download the iOS app from iTunes here.