The blogs of Leonardo da Vinci

da Vinci:  Studies of Embryos

Continuing on a bit of a theme this week, imagine if, instead of his famed notebooks, Leonardo da Vinci had used a blog to record his observations, inventions, sketches, science, mathematics…. Well, you get the idea.

Instead of nearly 6,000 pages of notes, many on what is essentially loose-leaf paper, in no particular order and with no way to correlate them, we might have 6,000 (or more, if you count the estimated 10,000 pages that haven’t survived to the present day) tagged, cross-linked, commented blog posts.

Not only would this have likely helped da Vinci himself organize his notes (a task he unfortunately did not complete before his death), it would have made his knowledge, his discoveries, and his observations available to the world at large.

I did a quick search on the Notebooks of Leonardo (a more exhaustive search will have to wait until I’m not exhausted), and came up with two interesting sites:

  • From this site you can browse the notebooks page by page, go to a random page, or get the notebooks via a daily RSS feed. At over 1500 pages, you will get a new page every day for over 4 years. Text from Project Gutenberg.
  • AskSam ebooks & databases: A searchable version of the notebooks. I haven’t done a detailed comparison, but the text appears to be the same as the version at Interconnected.

You can also download both versions for your reading pleasure when not connected.

Sadly, neither of these versions of the notebooks include the numerous (and incredible) sketches from the notebooks, such as the study of embryos shown above. Just as sadly, neither of these online versions of the notebooks are hyperlinked, so any connections between the 1500+ pages are left to the reader to sort out.

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