This press release (Google translate here) is rather unusual. The Herzog August library in Wolfenbuttel hold quite a collection of manuscripts and rare books. They’ve just introduced a new service to allow you to look at these, via a webcam, in real time.
What you do is book an appointment with the library to look at a book. Then when you telephone, a library staff member holds the book under a camera, and the page image is sent via a web cam. In this way you can tell him to go back/forward, look at this page/that one, and consult the book remotely.
The party identifies using the catalogue (http://www.hab.de/bibliothek/kataloge) the signatures and titles of the books he wants to see, and then agreed with the information provided by the library for an appointment (Tel: 05 331 / 808-312, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org:). At the agreed time, he accesses the page on http://www.hab.de/bibliothek/sprechstunde and dials the number +49 (0) 5331/808- 118th
The library honestly admit — what some German libraries will not — that for a researcher to fly over from Australia or Japan to see if a book contains anything of interest is “hardly possible.” This is an alternative. The article includes an image of what is happening, which illustrates the process.
It is a very imaginative idea. Well done Wolfenbuttel for thinking laterally on this one.