What's New

iOS 6 Compatibility
Bug Fixes

App Description

‘Treasures’, the British Library’s first app for iPhone and iPad, makes it possible to explore selected pages of some of the Library’s rarest and most extraordinary written and printed material – from wherever you are in the world.

**Named by Sunday Times as one of the top 500 apps!**

Created in partnership with Toura, the app includes over 100 highlights from our collections, including literary, historical, music-related and scientific documents - alongside illuminated manuscripts and sacred texts. Each is presented through a series of high-resolution images, allowing the viewer to zoom in and explore in extraordinary detail.

Literary highlights include pages selected by our curators from Charles Dickens’s handwritten draft of Nicholas Nickleby and Jane Austen’s teenage writings, while key historical documents include 2000-year-old Oracle Bones from China, an original Magna Carta of 1215, Elizabeth I’s famous Tilbury speech before the Spanish Armada, and a recording of suffragette Christabel Pankhurst’s speech after her release from prison. 

The section devoted to music includes pages selected by our curators from manuscript scores from some of the best-known classical composers, such as Handel, Purcell, Mozart and Schubert. A section devoted to maps showcases some of the most interesting and beautiful maps and views from the collection.

Christian texts include selected passages from the Codex Sinaiticus, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Gutenberg Bible. Other faiths are represented by the Golden Haggadah, Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an, and Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Sikh and Zoroastrian manuscripts.

The scientific documents, which are generally less well-known, explore fields such as astronomy, botany, zoology and medicine. They include selected pages from manuscripts, notebooks and letters that reveal some of the key scientific developments of all time, including Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, and Copernicus’s and Galileo’s findings on the structure of the cosmos.

Alongside these images, the app also includes sound recordings and nearly 50 short videos.

This multimedia content totals over 1.2GB and is best when viewed over a WiFi connection. Videos include interviews with British Library curators, the linguist David Crystal and explorer Ben Fogle.

The app will be updated with information on British Library exhibitions, highlighting some of the star items that will be on display.

Also available from the British Library: our eBook Treasures, which allow users to turn the pages of some of the Library's most treasured manuscripts, are available to download in the iBookstore.

*** Please note that due to the large amount of multimedia content included in the app, a WiFi connection is recommended to watch the videos and listen to the audio. ***

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

British Library: Treasures screenshot 1 British Library: Treasures screenshot 2 British Library: Treasures screenshot 3 British Library: Treasures screenshot 4 British Library: Treasures screenshot 5

App Changes

  • January 04, 2012 New version 3.0.4
  • January 12, 2012 Price decrease: $3.99 -> $1.99
  • March 09, 2012 New version 3.1
  • October 24, 2012 New version 3.2