I feel a digital format could offer some really phenomenal features and tools that could provide context, comparison and additional means of inquiry for students. If I were on a team developing an art history iBooks art history textbook, here are some ideas I'd explore:
- including a feature like the "Google Art Project," in which students can take a virtual museum field trip by navigating through high res photos of galleries and particular works, getting a sense of walking through the museum and being able to get up and personal to see brushstrokes and impasto on individual works.
- incorporating audio and video files of interviews with modern and contemporary artists so students can become more acquainted with 20th and 21st century art personalities.
- features allowing images of sculpture to be manipulated so you can see them from the front, sides, back, top, etc.
- map features that morph to show changes over time - ex: expansion of the Roman Empire
- appropriate musical overlays underscoring introductory chapters to various eras and movements.
- a library of additional images beyond the one or two typically allotted per artist in survey texts.
- study aids, such as image and glossary vocab quizzes and digital flashcards
- searchable image database allowing for queries based on material, era, subject, etc.