Medieval apps

Link to article

When is a book not a book?

Over at, Erik Kwakkel has written that some medieval manuscripts came with disks or dials that essentially turned the book into “a piece of hardware.”

“Just like our modern smartphones,” he writes, “the medieval book could be a versatile tool that combined contents with an untold number of applications.”

With beautiful illustrations, Kwakkel’s article explains that these “medieval computers…clarified the text’s meaning…functioned as a calculator or, astonishingly, allowed the reader to tell time. These fascinating add-ons, which are really not that different from the apps on our smartphones, turned a static handwritten book into an interactive object.”

Just a few years ago at Noho we produced Dublin City Walls, an interactive smartphone app on medieval Dublin. The news that interactive manuscripts were being published back in the 15th century would seem to connect us to a long tradition – a nice turn up for the books!