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NYPL puts 180,000 public domain images online

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 06, 2016





Really putting the “public” in “public library”, the New York Public Library has placed 180,000 public domain items online.

Did you know that more than 180,000 of the items in our Digital Collections are in the public domain? That means everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials in almost limitless ways. The Library now makes it possible to download such items in the highest resolution available directly from the Digital Collections website. No permission required. No restrictions on use.

“No permission required. No restrictions on use.” And they’re doing it specifically so that people will reuse and remix the images.

“We see digitization as a starting point, not end point,” said Ben Vershbow, the director of NYPL Labs, the in-house technology division that spearheaded the effort. “We don’t just want to put stuff online and say, ‘Here it is,’ but rev the engines and encourage reuse.”

In an introductory blog post, the library shares some of what’s in the new archive:

Berenice Abbott’s iconic documentation of 1930s New York for the Federal Art Project
Farm Security Administration photographs by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and others
Manuscripts of American literary masters like Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne
Papers and correspondence of founding American political figures like Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison

Fantastic stuff. Well done, NYPL.

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