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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Original Alice work in 3D online

The original manuscript of what became Alice in Wonderland has been put online by the British Library using software to virtually turn the pages.

Alice's Adventures Under Ground, by Lewis Carroll, is the latest 3D addition to the Library's Turning the Pages collection of books.

Using Flash technology, the manuscript can be virtually "handled", while audio is played simultaneously.

Fourteen rare books and manuscripts are now in the Turning Pages collection.

Alice joins the Diamond Sutra, Jane Austen's History of England, the Leonardo Notebook, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Mercator Atlas of Europe among others.

The Lindisfarne Gospels were the first of the British Library delicate and rare manuscripts to go digital in 1998. Since then, the page-turning technology to make the books more "real" online has been refined.

The technology gives the public a chance to almost touch works which would otherwise be untouchable inside glass cabinets.

Actress Miriam Margolyes has provided the optional voiceover to go with the virtual Alice manuscript.

The realistic page-turning application won a technical achievement award at the 2005 Learning on Screen Awards in March.

It uses 3D animation which mimics the action of turning pages, making the book much more tangible.

Close ups

The pages of the book can be browsed by the click of a mouse or by scrolling through each page individually.

The program also means readers can enlarge text as well as see the original illustrations in the manuscript.

Screengrab of the British Library's Page Turning Carroll manuscript
Alice joins 14 other precious works that use the page turning software
In the original Alice manuscript, Carroll included the first sketch of Alice Liddell who provided the inspiration for Alice in his books.

It was drawn in pencil from a photo of Alice aged seven but he was not satisfied with the sketch so replaced it with a photo of Alice instead.

In 1977, the pencil drawing was rediscovered hidden under the photo. The virtual 90-page virtual manuscript contains all 37 original illustrations.

The British Library Turning the Pages books are also on display on library computers in Northumberland, UK, and in the National Library of Medicine near Washington, USA.



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