British Library Launches First Smartphone App

New York, New York (PRESS RELEASE – January 14, 2011) – Home to the world’s knowledge and some of the rarest and most unique written and printed treasures, the British Library will launch its first smartphone app on January 10, 2011.  Created in conjunction with Toura, a leading technology platform for mobile guides, the ‘Treasures’ app will present a rich selection of the items featured in the Library’s Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery, providing the opportunity for interaction with the Library’s collections at home, on the move or within the Gallery itself.

Treasures will be available across multiple mobile platforms including iPhone, Android and iPad.  It will provide a truly multimedia experience including over 100 of the Library’s greatest collection items, 250 high-definition images, over 40 videos providing expert commentary, textual interpretation for deeper understanding, as well as up to date information about the Library’s current exhibitions.

Through the app users will experience an up close and personal experience with some of the Library’s most unique items, such as the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the world’s oldest bible Codex Sinaiticus, Nelson’s Battle Plan, written before his victory at Trafalgar, Galileo’s letters and Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks.  Expert commentary is provided on many of the items and users can watch, for example, videos of explorer Ben Fogle talking about Scott’s Diary and Linguist David Crystal discussing the 1,000 year old poem Beowulf.

Literary highlights include Charles Dickens’s handwritten draft of Nicholas Nickleby and Jane Austen’s teenage writings, while key historical documents include 2000-year-old Oracle Bones from China and an original Magna Carta of 1215. The section devoted to music includes manuscript scores from some of the best-known classical composers, such as Handel, Purcell, Mozart and Schubert, alongside hand-written lyrics by The Beatles.

Christian texts include the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Gutenberg Bible. Other faiths are represented by the Golden Haggadah, Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an, and Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Sikh and Zoroastrian manuscripts. The scientific documents explore fields such as astronomy, botany, zoology and medicine.  They include manuscripts, notebooks and letters that reveal some of the key scientific developments of all time, including Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, and Copernicus’s and Galileo’s findings on the structure of the cosmos.

Treasures will be available for download globally on iPhone and iPod Touch, in the iTunes App Store and in the Android Marketplace for $3.99.  The HD version is available for download globally for iPad for a price of $5.99.

The Library is also offering an introductory price of $1.99 for iPhone, iPod Touch and Android smartphones, and $3.99 for iPad until January 24, 2011.

Frances Brindle, British Library Director, Strategic Marketing & Communications commented: “Access to our collections through mobile technologies is an exciting initiative for the Library.  We are delighted to be able to make our unique collection items available to a wider audience via this interactive app in such a dynamic format.  The Library is committed to increasing access to its collections and broadening the reach of our services and this app demonstrates our commitment to engaging with the mobile community.”

“Toura is proud to be partnering with the British Library to bring its first mobile app to life,” explained Toura’s CEO Aaron Radin.  “With Toura technology enabling the Treasures app, the British Library’s impressive body of knowledge will have a global reach – opening up the doors for unprecedented learning and discovery through dynamic video, images, text and audio features across all mobile platforms.”

The Library hopes to develop Treasures in the future with further enhancements and will update the content as its exhibition program changes.

About The British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation. It includes: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.

About Toura

Toura is creating the leading technology platform for the efficient and cost-effective creation and launch of smart phone-based mobile guides for the travel and tourism industry and its customers around the world.  Toura mobile guides entertain and educate on-site and off-site visitors to a broad range of travel and tour attractions, including museums, galleries, zoos, parks, historic sites, trails, stadiums, universities and others.  Toura is headquartered in New York and has operations across the United States and Europe.

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