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Library of Congress to Open a New Online Exhibit

The Library of Congress is scheduled to open a new interactive Web site on Saturday, as a companion to a high-tech exhibit designed to give visitors a close-up view of some of the institution’s treasures.

A copy of the Gutenberg Bible, for instance, is in a glass case at the library, but the new Web site will let users flip through the book and zoom in on its pages virtually. An article in Ars Technica points out that the exhibit is the result of a $3-million gift from Microsoft to promote the use of the company’s latest multimedia platform, called Silverlight. The exhibit sounds like a theme park ride — it’s called The Library of Congress Experience.

The library has offered digital versions of its collections for years, of course. In fact, The Chronicle described one of its first efforts to do so back in 1994 — back when the Web was in its infancy. But the latest exhibit suggests that digitized copies of historical items can use updating as technology improves. —Jeffrey R. Young

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