How to Digitise One of the World’s Largest Books

How to Digitise One of the World’s Largest Books

Saturday May 13, 2017 Written by Smith

Atlas Maps

At nearly two metres tall, the Klencke Atlas is one of the largest books in the world. (It was only recently surpassed, in 2012, by the Earth Platinum.) Published in 1660, the atlas was named after Johannes Klencke, who lead a group of Dutch sugar merchants in presenting the book to Charles II to foster good trade relations between Holland and Britain. The atlas became one of the king’s favourite possessions – and one of the British Library’s as well, which placed the book on public view in 2010.

Of course in these modern times, “public view” doesn’t mean much if it’s not on the internet. And so the library undertook to have the whole thing digitised – a mammoth task requiring many hands. First, the book had to be moved onto an XXXL-sized book stand for high-resolution photography. Then a team of people painstakingly turned the book’s pages – each over two metres wide – to capture each and every map.

Some thoughtful boffin decided to capture the whole project, producing the below time-lapse video of the digitisation process. It’s quietly mesmerising. And of course, you can check out the final thing in its entirety over at the British Library.