Introducing BookExplorer from PastView


Click here to try BookExplorer now

We are excited to share the latest feature addition to our PastView digital heritage publishing platform: Book Explorer.

Book Explorer is an intuitive, interactive 3D page turning interface, which enables fluid browsing and keyword searching of digital heritage collections online. All whilst displaying them beautifully.

Curious? You can try BookExplorer out for yourself on live, real world collections by clicking the image above.

Powered by PastView, the compelling interface sits on the front-end of your digital archive, library or museum discovery portal and displays your digitised book collections. This makes Book Explorer ideal for making journals, magazines, photograph albums, burial registers, and other bound materials accessible online.

BookExplorer in a nutshell

  • Cutting edge viewer for digital book collections
  • 3D Page turning
  • Displays beautifully across devices – PC, tablet and smartphone
  • Display full screen or integrated on web page
  • Loupe and Zoom tools for detail viewing
  • Rotate function for viewing landscape drawings/diagrams
  • Integrated OCR text search & on-page highlighting
  • Supports pop up display of per-page metadata
  • Runs seamlessly on all modern internet browsers (Chrome/Edge/Explorer/Firefox) 

With BookExplorer you are able to configure various options to provide a seamless experience for the user including the image resolution, reading direction, whether the loupe is shown by default, and background colours of the interface.

Configuring these settings individually for every collection would be a chore – especially for institutions with larger digital holdings – so all of these settings can be configured and saved in a reusable way, allowing them to instantly be applied to new collections as they are added.

“BookExplorer provides an intuitive, easy to use platform for the public to engage with our historical Journals and presents some 30,000 pages of text in a clear and familiar way.”
Michael Pritchard, chief executive – Royal Photographic Society.


3D Page turning

BookExplorers 3D page turning functionality allows pages to be smoothly and elegantly turned through flawlessly rendered graphics.

Pages can be turned by clicking and dragging the cursor on a PC or simply by sliding the finger across the screen on tablet, mobile or other touchscreen devices. This can also be achieved via a single button click or finger tap if users prefer.

To keep page load times fast, PastView administrators (i.e. institution staff) can set the display resolution of digital pages within the Book Explorer. Higher resolution image can then be viewed through the Loupe and Zoom tools…

Loupe and Zoom for effortlessly viewing detail

The Loupe is an intuitive dynamic magnifying tool that displays a higher resolution, enlarged image of whichever section of the page it is hovered over. This allows for easy scanning of sections of text or fine detail on images.


The BookExplorer can also display a more traditional Zoom view of a whole page, which can be grabbed and panned. This view can be activated simply by double-clicking (or double-tapping on mobile/tablet devices) anywhere on a page.

As above, the resolution of the higher res. image displayed through the Loupe and Zoom view can be set by the institution via PastView, to ensure the optimum balance of level of detail displayed vs page load speed.

Search and integrated OCR text highlighting

Where the written content of a digitised volume has been captured via optical character recognition (OCR) as textual metadata, this metadata can be instantly searched using the BookExplorer’s integrated search bar.

The BookExplorer will move to the page with the first instance of the keyword(s) searched and highlight all instances of the keyword on that page, in addition the search bar will show how many pages within the volume include instances of the keyword(s) and allow the user to cycle through them.

The option is also provided to allow the user to view the OCR metadata for a particular page as plain text. Ideal for researchers who may wish to copy and paste the text content from a specific page or section.

Try out BookExplorer for yourself

Discover it for yourself and browse through our specially created BookExplorer demonstration collections.