New York Public Library (NYPL) presents this digital version of John James Audubon's, Birds of America, from drawings made in the United States and their territories. Although it's pretty easy to find digital copies of Audubon's Birds online, this NYPL edition has a number of advantages. First, the website includes an informative essay about the genre of books Birds falls into, that is pre-1920 illustrated zoologies from Europe and the Americas. As explained in the essay, these volumes are not only important as scientific records of species of animals that existed in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, they also serve as specimens of printing technology. Second, the digital version was made from a double elephant folio edition, which can be as large as 48 inches tall, producing high quality digital images. Visitors to the physical library would have to request this giant book from offsite storage; online visitors can see prints instantly on their computer screens. Finally, it's possible to view the digital Birds several ways - as a table of individual images, by searching for a particular bird, or as an e-book with the plates arranged as 2-page spreads.
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