Exeter Cathedral launch their Virtual Book collection using Turning the Pages online

Exeter Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral located in the city of Exeter, Devon, in the South West of England. The main building was completed around 1400 and has several features of note, including an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock, and the longest uninterrupted medieval stone vaulted ceiling in the world. The cathedral is open to the public and definitely worth visiting if you are in the South West of the UK.

What may be a lesser known fact is that Exeter Cathedral has been collecting books and documents for its library and archives since it was founded in 1050, and as a result there are now tens of thousands of items in the collections, covering over 1,000 years of history. In partnership with VISTA AR, Exeter Cathedral are using digital technology to bring aspects of the Cathedral to life in new ways. Armadillo are very honoured to have taken part in this process by providing our Turning the Pages software, initially running as a touchscreen kiosk inside the Cathedral, but now also available on the web using Turning the Pages Online. You can now explore five of the Cathedral’s favourite books and documents in their online library of Virtual Books:

The Exeter Book of Anglo Saxon Poetry
The most famous book in the Library. A unique anthology of poetry written in Old English in c.970AD. It is the oldest book in the Cathedral Library.

Book of Anglo Saxon Poetry

The Exon Domesday
The south west of England’s draft of William I’s famous Domesday Survey of 1086.

Exon Domesday

Andreas Vesalius De humani corporis fabrica (1555)
One of the most famous Renaissance books on anatomy.

Andreas Vesalius 'De humani corporis fabrica’

G.L. A Compleat Abstract of the Holy Bible…done into verse for the help of weak memories, and instruction of children (c.1715)
One of the smallest of all the Bibles in the Library, written in rhyming verse.

Compleat Abstract

Mr Hart’s Famous Scrapbook
One of the most charming documents in the Archives, it is filled with cartoons and character sketches collected by the Cathedral’s head virger in the 1950s.

Mr Hart's Famous Scrapbook

We hope to see Exeter Cathedral putting more of their amazing and varied collection online in the future!

Turning the Pages Showreel Video

At Armadillo Systems we are excited to premiere our new Turning the Pages showreel video, demonstrating the functionality of a touchscreen system which could be deployed on site in a gallery or library environment, or run on a touchscreen tablet computer.

Our gallery version of Turning the Pages is our most realistic application for creating digital facsimiles of books, featuring a true 3D environment and fully 3D modelled books, pages, and page turns. Other features include specular highlights on pages, for example gold leaf catching the light as the page turns, as well as support for 4K UHD page resolution, page hotspots/highlights, in situ page translation, and supplementary media (audio/video/image).

We hope you enjoy the video below, for more information please visit the Turning the Pages website.

Turning the Pages Content Management System

If you’ve ever seen or used a Turning the Pages kiosk at a library, or viewed books using Turning the Pages online, you may not realise how easy it is to build your own digital library of books. With the current world health situation forcing galleries around the world to close their doors to the public, or at best to limit on-site interactive experiences, there has never been a better time to offer content online. Armadillo Systems have helped clients build digital facsimiles of their books for over 20 years, and with the the Turning the Pages content management system (TTP CMS) individual books can be built to form digital libraries. These can then be deployed as:

  • 3D versions for touchscreen and touchless kiosks
  • 2D versions for the web (including a WCAG 2.1 AA accessible version)

To see just how easy it is to build a book, and create your own digital library, have a look at the following video. Follow this link for more information on the Turning the Pages content management system.

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

Turning the Pages at the Diamond Jubilee Galleries, Westminster Abbey

This summer saw the grand opening of the newly constructed Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey. Built at a cost of £22.9 million the new gallery space sits high above the Abbey floor, in the beautiful 13th century triforium. On display are some of our greatest treasures which tell the story of a thousand years of British history.

Armadillo Systems were tasked with creating a Turning the Pages Gallery version of The Litlyngton Missal, this missal was commissioned by Abbot Nicholas Litlyngton for use at the Abbey’s high altar and was made at Westminster between 1383 and 1385. The text and illumination (decoration using gold leaf and colour) took three unnamed artists and scribe two years to complete. This Turning the Pages features a custom user interface themed specifically for the new gallery, and specular highlights on all the pages, due to the extensive amount of gold leaf throughout the book.

Opened by Her Majesty The Queen, the new galleries are spectacular and definitely worth a visit, even the access to them is remarkable. A new seven storey tower (the Weston Tower) was built just outside Poet’s Corner, it conceals a lift shaft and spiral staircase, connecting to the building by a bridge. It’s so discreet and perfectly integrated in to the existing structure of the Abbey you might not even notice it if you were walking by.

For more information on visiting the Diamond Jubilee Galleries head to the Westminster Abbey website.

Turning the Pages: Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica

One of our all time favourite medieval books we have made in to a Turning the Pages is Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) which you can view online, or at the British Library as a Turning the Pages Gallery kiosk.

The book is one of the most influential works in the history of Western medicine. Vesalius was both a gifted dissector and a learned scholar,  by collecting and presenting his research in De Fabrica he created the modern science of anatomy. The book was published in 1543, with more than 600 pages of text and beautifully detailed engravings by artists from the workshop of Titian. Looking at the engravings of the skeletons and muscle men, set in lifelike poses against the backdrop of the Italian countryside of Padua, you can see the obvious lasting influence of the book, right up to the present day with exhibitions such as Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds.

You can watch a short video capture of the interactive kiosk on our YouTube channel:

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: Microsoft Surface Studio Videos

Thanks to everyone who visited our stand at the Museums Association Conference and Exhibition 2017, it was great catching up with old friends and making some new acquaintances. A big thanks must go to Microsoft for the loan of a brand new Surface Studio, which allowed us to demonstrate the Saint John’s Bible Turning the Pages in 4K UHD, needless to say it looked stunning! We made some short videos at the conference, and also back at the office as we couldn’t resist trying some of our older Turning the Pages books on the Surface Studio to see how they looked, again the superb quality of the screen really gave them a new lease of life.

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!