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.
OldNYC offers a map view of old photos of New York City, drawn from the collection at the New York Public Library. This is fantastic, like a historical Google Street View. For instance, there used to be a huge theater on the corner of 7th Avenue and Christopher St, circa 1929:
If I didn’t have a thing to do this afternoon, I would spend all day exploring this. So so good. (via @mccanner)
Last week, the New York Public Library released a massive collection of maps online…over 20,000 maps are available for high-resolution download. An incredible resource.
Nicola Twilley of Edible Geography interviews Laura Shapiro and Rebecca Federman, curators of the NYPL’s Lunch Hour NYC exhibition, about how lunch became a meal and what the city had to do with it.
Sliced wrapped bread first appeared in 1930, and that became the sandwich standard right away. They had the slicing technology before then, but they didn’t have the wrapping technology and the two had to go together.
Before sliced bread, the lunch literature is full of advice on social distinctions and the thickness of bread in sandwiches. You slice it very thick and you leave the crusts on if you’re giving them to workers, but for ladies, it should be extremely, extremely thin. Women’s magazines actually published directions on how to get your bread slices thin enough for a ladies lunch. You butter the cut side of the loaf first, and then slice as close to the butter as you possibly can.
The New York Public Library is facing budget cuts that will close libraries on some days, cut programs for children, and place other services (like job search resources) at risk. The possible cuts come at a time when library visits are up 12% over last year and people out of work are relying on the library more than ever.
If you are a NYPL user and don’t want services cut, I urge you to write your City Council Member or the Mayor.
Included in the NYPL’s recent addition to the Flickr Commons project is Changing New York, a selection of photos taken of NYC in the 1930s by Berenice Abbott as part of a government program for unemployed artists. Here are the Starrett-Lehigh Building and looking north from Washington Square…so open! And the buildings are so low too. The Cyanotypes of British Algae set is worth a look as well.
The New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery has tons of great old photos of Central Park…among other things. thx, bryan
Exhibition at the Science, Industry and Business Library in NYC: Places & Spaces, Mapping Science (thru Aug 31). An online exhibition is also available or browse all the maps.
Online Media and the Future of Journalism, a forum celebrating the 10th anniversary of Slate at the New York Public Library. June 22, 6:30pm, with Michael Kinsley, Malcolm Gladwell, Arianna Huffington, Norm Pearlstine, and Jacob Weisberg.