The player responds intelligently to the type of item being viewed. If a digital book is opened, the user can navigate by a thumbnail image of each page, or select a chapter or section of the book, or sometimes multiple volumes. If a video is opened, the option to see thumbnails is replaced by the functionality to pause and scroll through the film.
One of the real strengths of the player is the ability to zoom in on images. This applies to all image content, but works especially well on paintings, posters and other pieces of art. The player also allows users to download items, bookmark images for later and embed the player on users’ websites. The software been optimised for mobile devices.
Commenting on the release of the player software, Robert Kiley, Head of Digital Services at the Wellcome Library, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to share our player. The player provides a consistent, easy-to-use and enjoyable user experience and by encouraging others to build upon it I hope that it will become the de facto open-source tool for delivering digital content across the cultural heritage sector and beyond.”
Tom Crane, Technical Developer at Digirati, added: “We built the player to fit the systems of the Wellcome Library and in doing so have built a tool that anyone could adapt to their own organisation's needs. However, this is just the start. We're hoping that others will extend the player further, providing modules to play even more types of content.”
The software, released under the MIT Open Source licence, can be downloaded from the Wellcome Library GitHub account. From this site users will also be able to download the source code for the Library’s timeline application.
Digirati provides strategy, design, integration and engineering consultancy to public and private sector clients for online publishing and customer engagement solutions. Founded in 2002, Digirati has built a strong reputation for innovative digital platforms that provide exceptional user experiences. Digirati harnesses open source technologies and open standards, delivering using Lean and Agile techniques to ensure quality and value through a highly collaborative ethos.
The Wellcome Library is one of the world's leading libraries of medical history, housing 2.5 million items of extraordinary range and diversity, and a growing collection of contemporary biomedical information resources relating to consumer health, popular science, biomedical ethics and the public understanding of science. The Library is situated within Wellcome Collection, the free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. Wellcome Collection is growing. Exciting new galleries and spaces and expanded Library facilities will open in autumn 2014 as part of a £17.5m development.
The Wellcome Library is part of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.