App of the Week – NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Happy Hallbiblion_frankenstein.previewoween! This week’s app highlights an incredibly in-depth, innovative resource from the New York Public Library–an interactive online exhibit called NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein.

Whether you’re reading Frankenstein for class, teaching the novel, or simply looking to explore new layers of a classic, culturally-influential text, NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein has something for everyone.

The app is fairly easy to navigate, but its structure is meant to encourage exploration, so the format isn’t linear. When your iPad is in portrait mode, you can scroll through various themes, and tap on each to find accompanying articles/galleries/resources on that theme: Creation & Remix, Cultural Interpretations of Frankenstein, Shelley’s Ghost, and Outsiders. If you’re a student working on your Frankenstein essay, the critical essays are a can’t-miss feature.


If you flip the iPad to landscape mode, you’ll find primary source documents like Mary Shelley’s handwritten draft of Frankenstein, a scanned prologue of the 1831 edition, Percy’s Shelley’s early handwritten poems, correspondence and other short works. Unfortunately, the handwritten sources are fairly difficult to read, but the app has zoom-in capabilities, as wells as typed transcripts for most of them. frankenstein2



This is the second app in the Biblion series. In 2011, the New York Public Library released NYPL Biblion: World’s Fair, highlighting a detailed history of the fair with its new interactive iPad format. Reviews praised it for “[bringing] history into life” and thoroughly exploring the historical significance of the event. We encourage you to check out both apps in the series thus far, and immerse yourself in these collections.

The only real downside of the this incredible free resource is that there is no search function – you must sift through the app “manually” to find what you’re looking for. However, I think that’s probably a crucial part of the design – after all, “not all those who wander are lost.”

Further Reading:

NYPL’s Biblion ‘Frankenstein’: annotating one of literature’s greatest monsters

Educade: NYPL Biblion Frankenstein

Did the New York Public Library Just Build the Magazine App of the Future?

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian