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More Bodies on the Web: National Library of Medicine Puts More Images from Rare Anatomical Books Online

The National Library of Medicine has one of the richest collections of illustrated anatomical books in the world. Now, for the first time, the general public can take a peek at these books dating from the fifteenth century to the 20th century.

The Library's History of Medicine Division announces Historical Anatomies on the Web, a new digital project that broadens access to this collection by providing high-resolution, downloadable scans of important images. The web site is: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/historicalanatomies/home.html

Historical Anatomies on the Web offers selected images from NLM's anatomical books, with an emphasis on images and not texts. Books and images are selected primarily for their historical and artistic significance.

In order to produce the highest quality images, the pages of the atlases have been scanned at a high resolution, which will allow users to employ them in any number of projects, including close examination and comparisons, publications, presentations, and artwork. The images are also presented in a format that allows zooming and panning at high magnification. High-resolution TIFF files will be archived and made available to researchers as well.

Each image is accompanied by a brief historical discussion about the work, its author, the artists, and illustration technique. A bibliographical description is also included, so that users will know exactly which edition is being used and if there are any characteristics special to NLM's copy.

Historical Anatomies on the Web so far includes 120 images from five anatomical books by Andreas Vesalius, Johannes de Ketham, Magnus Hundt, Albrecht Dürer, and Bernardino Genga. Images from nearly 20 other anatomical works will be added in the future.