Thursday, 26 April 2012

Inside History's NSW State Library iPad app

This is one for those of you with Australian connections. The new Inside History magazine, launched just under a year ago in Oz by Cassie and Ben Mercer, has teamed up with the State Library of New South Wales to create a new free special edition app allowing you a tour of the facility. Here's the press release:

A fantastic new iPad app lets you look inside the vaults of one of the world’s great libraries and is now free to download on the App Store.

Inside History magazine has just launched a special iPad edition which allows users to explore, share and interact with the State Library of NSW’s unrivalled collection like never before.

“Inside History magazine is thrilled to be working with the talented team at the State Library to launch this unique tour of arguably one of the world’s great libraries,” says Cassie Mercer, Inside History editor.

“I was nine when I first visited the State Library of NSW from the country, and I still remember being mesmerised by the Mitchell Library’s extraordinary leadlight windows and the seemingly endless levels and shelves of books stacked up to meet them. I feel like I grew up at the Library,” says Ms Mercer

This special edition brings together short films, photo galleries and highlights from staff curators and guest writers who reveal the intimate history of objects, their creators and owners. Many intriguing questions are answered, like why the Macquarie Collector’s Chest was created and how the original 1644 Tasman map ended up in Paris and then at the State Library.

The feature story on the current major exhibition, Lewin: Wild Art, takes you into the world of a young illustrator, John Lewin (1770-1819), who was inspired by Australia’s flora and fauna to develop his own remarkable style. And this issue is sumptuously illustrated with Lewin’s beautiful artwork.

Users can go behind the scenes as State Library of NSW conservators restore 3,500 glass plate negatives from the gold rush, discovered in a garden shed in Chatswood in 1951. This extraordinary find proved to be the most important photographic documentation of goldfields life in Australia.

“From displaying Matthew Flinders’ logbook and journal on board the Queen Mary 2 as it retraced his circumnavigation, to utilising new technologies, the State Library continues to explore new opportunities to ensure as many people as possible have the chance to engage with the Library’s remarkable collections,” says NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive, Alex Byrne.

“Inside History is an active champion of the State Library and, with our shared passion for making history interesting and accessible, we jumped at the chance to jointly launch this special iPad edition,” says Dr Byrne.

“It’s a wonderful addition to our extensive online offerings and we hope it makes people wonder what else might surprise from in the vaults of the State Library.”

Download the free app at for your chance to win an original illustration of Paul Keating from the sharp pen of Daily Telegraph cartoonist, Warren Brown.

NB: The iPad app for the magazine also allows you to download back issues and further issues if you choose, though the special edition of the magazine as noted above is free. I've just had a play, and the content is great, though worth warning in advance that the navigation takes a wee bit of getting used to - you swipe left and right to get to different articles, but have to swipe up and down to get to different pages of each individual article, so slightly three dimensional!

For Android tablet users, stay tuned for the digital version of Inside History magazine, which will be launching with issue 10 via the Zinio platform.

(Nice one Cassie!)


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