Microsoft and the British Library have been working together on a collaboration which has the title of “Turning the Pages 2.0” and it brings 570 pages of the Codex Arundel of Leonardo da Vinci to viewers for free online.
This collaboration means that anyone can look through Leonardo da Vinci’s writings, one of the most inventive minds to come out of the Renaissance. The digitized pages show the ideas of da Vinci for inventions that include automobiles, parachutes, airplanes, helicopters and submarines, many centuries before they had even been developed and then given to the world. During the lifetime of Da Vinci, he recorded many of the ideas and reflections he came up with in notebooks, along with illustrations. Many of the manuscripts were lost throughout the centuries and any that survived have become some of the most valuable and rare objects that could generally only be seen by a selection of historians and collectors. That is up until Microsoft and the British Library began working together.
The list of what Leonardo da Vinci could do seems to be endless. He was known to be a mathematician, musician, painter, architect, historian, botanist, sculptor and inventor. Due to the fact that his aptitudes were so universal, there is no wonder what he became one of the most famous of all artists around the globe, both inside and outside of art circles. The British Library and Microsoft got together in 2007 to start digitizing the 570 pages of the da Vinci manuscript and now anyone who has a mind to can virtually turn the pages of the manuscript just as if they were reading a real book. The digitization also includes some notes from the British Library.
The notebooks were actually never intended to be published as they were where da Vinci recorded his own personal thoughts and ideas. Following his death in 1519 his pupil Francesco Melzi took many of the manuscripts back to Italy and as he did not realize just how important they would become, he gradually disposed of them. Luckily more than 5,000 pages of the mirror writing of da Vinci, from right to left, are still in existence, even though many sheets were split up.
This meant that few managed to survive in the original form. Some notebooks were discovered in 1966 and then they were found by chance as they were located in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid. One notebook, the Codex Arundel, is proudly on display at the British Library and it is this one that the library and Microsoft worked on to bring to the internet. The 16th-century manuscript can now be looked at by any internet user, thanks to the Turning the Pages technology.
Link to the manuscripts: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Arundel_MS_263