…if you wanted — let’s just say — to read the original account of Newton and the falling apple, you’d have to research which museum, school, or library had the manuscript, arrange a costly visit overseas (if you were not already located in Europe), and try to convince a librarian that you had good reason to look at the original and that you’d be ever so careful with it. If you were lucky, you might be allowed into the collection to see it — look, but don’t touch!
No longer. Turning the Pages has placed some — admittedly few, to date — manuscripts online. Now you can look at the fragile paper manuscript from the 18th century which tells the story of Newton’s development of his theory of gravity from the comfort of your own home. No, you can’t actually handle the manuscripts at Turning the Pages, but it’s unlikely you’d have been allowed to do so had you made that theoretical trip, either.
We’ll call this one more entry into the list of reasons that I’m glad to live in the Internet age.