British Library First Smartphone App

Geny Caloisi

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 10 January 2011.

Created in conjunction with Toura, a provider of 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 globally. 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.

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’s CEO Aaron Radin said, “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.”

Treasures will be available for download globally on iPhone and iPod Touch, in the iTunes App and in the Android Marketplace for £2.39 (US $3.99). The HD version is available for download globally for iPad for a price of £3.49 (US $5.99). More information can be found at or

The Library is also offering an introductory price of £1.19 (US $1.99) for iPhone, iPod Touch and Android smartphones, and £2.39 (US $3.99) for iPad until 24 Jan.

One Response to “British Library First Smartphone App”

  1. Bryan Crotaz Says:

    Sounds lovely until you see the quantity of content – only 100 items? There must be a ton of stuff in the library that could be cheaply scanned, films that could be digitised etc…

Leave a Reply