Screen shot 2010-07-14 at 11.47.38 AM.pngA new free app. I’m going to download it as soon as I finish with the site this morning. Resource Shelf has more info.

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek accommodates in its vaults some world-famous and most precious works of the written cultural heritage of mankind. The App “Famous Books – Treasures of the Bavarian State Library” presents an exquisite selection of these holdings:

52 splendid manuscripts, unique incunabula and rare, precious printed works from the Occident and the Orient, all representing treasures whose originals can be viewed only very rarely in exhibitions. The brilliant, comprehensive digital copies of the exhibits – formatted for presentation on iPad, iPhone and iPod – provide a fascinating insight into the treasures held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

The manuscripts and printed works can be browsed from the first to the last page. Among the exhibits there are for example the manuscript A of the Nibelungenlied, the eight volumes of the Ottheinrich Bible, the Babylonian Talmud or the Parzival epic by Wolfram von Eschenbach.

Update: Just downloaded the iPad app and it is absolutely magnificent on the iPad. This is what the machine was designed for!


  1. I meant to respond to this the day it was published, but became distracted. After reading about the app, I immediately downloaded it onto my iPad and then spent at least an hour and an half enjoying the fabulous illustrations. Especially enjoyed under Rare Books of the Modern Period: Pageants for Elisabeth of Hesse, 1596. These are wonderfully whimsical. As Andrys says, I hope there are more to come like this.

  2. Mary, I had much the same experience; meant to respond sooner but have been very distracted. It has been a long time since I had to read German calligraphic writing and I have more hours ahead with some of those wonderful documents.

    The Asian selection is a bit odd, but I imagine it is constrained by what is in the museum collection. Nothing from China is a major gap. But I hope this will spur more of the same from other museums.

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