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2011 MAY–JUNE No. 380
June 15, 2011 [posted]

History and High-Tech Intersect as NLM Releases “Turning the Pages” App for iPad

[Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an announcement published on the NLM Web site on June 6, 2011. To be notified of announcements like this subscribe to NLM-Announces e-mail list.]

Users Can Virtually Flip through Medical Masterpieces from Past Centuries

The National Library of Medicine® (NLM®), the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, announces the release of a new Turning the Pages "app" for the iPad: // The application is free and features selections from three rare books from the Library's collection. All three books first appeared on NLM Turning the Pages kiosks and Web site over the past three years. The new app allows iPad users to have an up-close virtual experience with these rare treasures. The animated books, scanned at high resolution, are accompanied by texts, written by experts in their fields, which put the books and images into context.

One of the featured works is a 19th century Japanese surgical manuscript by noted physician Hanaoka Seishu, the first surgeon to use anesthesia in an operation. Another book included in the app is Hieronymus Brunschwig's De Arte Distillandi, printed in Strasbourg in 1512. The work contains numerous hand-colored woodcuts showing physicians, alchemists and their laboratories in Early Modern Europe. The third book is an early Persian manuscript by medieval natural historian al-Qazwini entitled The Cosmography, which includes colorful hand-drawn illustrations of zodiac constellations, animals, and plants from the Islamic world of the period.

Launched at NLM in 2001, Turning the Pages is part of a continuing collaboration between the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications and the History of Medicine Division.


"Wound Man" and brain localization charts from Hieronymus Brunschwig's De Arte Distillandi printed in Strasbourg, 1512.


Man and woman with tumors of the jaw in Hanaoka Seishu's Surgical Casebook, Japan, about 1820.

Splash Page

NLM new Turning the Pages app for iPad allows users to see rare books up close.


History and High-Tech Intersect as NLM Releases “Turning the Pages” App for iPad. NLM Tech Bull. 2011 May-Jun;(380):e15.