Growing Knowledge at the British Library

We previewed the British Library’s Growing Knowledge – The Evolution of Research exhibition a few months ago in the last edition of Digital Content Quarterly magazine, along with an interview with its researcher-in-residence Aleks Krotoski (catch up with it here). The exhibition has now launched and looks fantastic. There are lots of tools to try out, including, for the first time in the UK, a prototype of Sony’s  Ray Modeler: 360-degree Autostereoscopic Display.  Through gesture controls, users can view static and moving 3D images and video, offering a glimpse of future collaborative working.

The exhibition also features a Microsoft Surface Table containing a digital version of the world’s longest painting, the 19th century Garibaldi Panorama. 4½ feet (1.4 metres) high, painted on both sides and 273 feet (83 metres) long, this treasure poses huge challenges for viewing in physical form. Using the virtual version, researchers can gather around the Surface table, scroll the entire panorama and expand, extract and zoom in on detail.

Twitter Dials at the British Library's Growing Knowledge exhibition

Particularly fun is the unique installation of UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis Tweet-o-Meter (above), a series of analogue dials revealing the number of Tweets from capital cities around the world in real-time, showing the bridge between the digital and analogue worlds, and the ways that online information can be measured and linked to geographical data.

The exhibition is a great example of the value of partnership. The British Library has worked with corporations including Sony, Microsoft, HP and Haworth to bring the technology together, as well as public sector partners JISC and the BBC. Growing Knowledge could not have happened without this collaborative way of working.

Find out more in the video below, and you can visit the exhibition at the British Library until 16 July 2011.

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