Turning the Pages is Cool Site for April 2011

The quest for the “real thing” is not always satisfied. Among the most beautiful and sought after objects of antiquity are the books and manuscripts created hundreds of years ago, and carefully preserved in libraries. Unfortunately, these are not always made accessible, for the simple reason that everyday use will surely harm these precious items: the evidence of humanity’s search for knowledge. The National Library of Medicine’s Turning the Pages allows users to ‘touch and turn’ the pages of rare and beautiful historic books in the biomedical sciences through digitized images.

Here, users can access such wonders as the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, the world’s oldest surviving surgical text; Conrad Gesner’s Historiae Animalium, considered to be the first modern zoological work; and Johannes de Ketham’s Fasiculo de Medicina, the first illustrated medical work to appear in print. Visitors may ‘touch and turn’ these pages in a highly realistic way, zoom in on the pages for more detail, and read explanations of the text.

Visit Turning the Pages today and wonder at these marvelous and unique volumes!