The National Library of Scotland has entered the mobile media world with the launch of a fantastic new app for iPod touch and iPhone.
It allows users to view some of the Library's most prized letters, manuscripts and documents, literally in the palm of their hands - letting you get up close and personal with great writers and thinkers including Charles Darwin, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Lord Byron and David Livingstone.
The free-of-charge John Murray Archive app provides unparalleled access to the Library's prestigious John Murray Archive, which is home to 150,000 papers recording the business of the influential John Murray publishing firm. The collection is currently housed at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh as the Library complete efforts to purchase the collection.
Until now anyone who wished to get a glimpse of the collection's highlights could visit the JMA Exhibition at NLS in - an impressive interactive showcase of some of the materials - or view the collection in the Library reading rooms by becoming a reader at the Library.
Now, it has just got even better - anyone in the world with an iPhone or iPod touch can download the app and 'tour' the archive from the comfort of their own homes - or indeed anywhere they have a WiFi or 3G signal.
It takes users on a journey through the publishing archive, telling the story of the Murray publishing house and archive collections through audio-visual introductions narrated by Kirsty Wark. And with zoomable images, audio descriptions and collection galleries, you can dig deeper into the collection and discover more about the authors who shaped the modern world through their pioneering work in literature, science, travel and exploration, politics and society - and the publishing house behind them.
Martyn Wade, CEO of the National Library of Scotland, said: "This is a fantastic, 21st century resource showcasing materials from a collection spanning over 200 years of history.
'We constantly strive to ensure the Library is accessible as possible, and recognising the immense popularity of apps, we believe this is a fantastic way to share our collections with an even wider audience. We are confident historians and technology-fans alike will enjoy exploring the "JMA Tour" app, which could well pave the way for other apps featuring more of our collections in the future.'
Anyone wishing to download the app to their own devices can do so, free of charge, via the Apple iTunes store or via a link on the JMA or NLS websites. If you don't have access to the web at home, don't forget the National Library has a public WiFi service which can be utilised.
The Library also is also set to stock up on a supply of iPod touch units which visitors will be able to borrow and use to complement and enhance their experience of visiting the exhibition - keep your eye on the John Murray Archive website which will make an announcement as soon as they are available.
The app was developed for National Library of Scotland by ScreenMedia.
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Tel: 0131 623 3700
9 June 2010