Today, @lyndelleg tweeted about this post in the SMH about the future of libraries. The article refers to the launch by the British Library of it's new iPad app featuring access to over a thousand scanned 19th Century books.
I eagerly downloaded it. I like the quality of the scanned books - in some you can even see squashed bugs! I do however wish for a search function within the books. Call me geek but that's how we librarians roll. :-) Also, I do object to the kangaroo featured on the front page of all Australian/NZ/Pacific books. Don't get me wrong. I like kangas, but there aren't any here, nor in the Pacific Islands. Perhaps something more ..um.. ubiquitous would have been better. Don't ask me what though. Vegemite perhaps?
Anyhow, it is neat to be able to read publications by the Rev. Richard Taylor about early New Zealand. Incidentally I feel quite friendly towards old Rev Rick - because I spent a summer photocopying transcripts from his diaries. I feel I got to know him a bit as I read his musings in between passes of the green photocopier light, surrounded by the stink of toner and heat from the cooling vent. Those were the days before scanners were any good.
And it is curious to see the books they've chosen to scan too.
Sacred songs for British Seamen? Check.
The London Burial Grounds: notes on their history from the earliest to the present day? Check. (The which has a chapter entitled Private and Promiscuous Cemeteries - I did read the chapter but didn't see what was promiscuous about them.)
The book of the cheese: being traits and stories of 'ye Old Cheshire Cheese'? Check.
The children of the mist; or, the Scottish clansmen in peace and war? Check. (This title slightly disconcerting in the light of a modern day title, "Gorillas in the mist")
If you have a Pad of I you may wish to try it out :-)