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Label: digital resources

Saturday 09th January 2016Digital Resources: NYPL Releases Huge Image Collection

As we promised in our Hello 2016 post that started things off, this year on the Gallereo blog we're going to be adding a new series to our array of regular posts that focuses on the various resources that are available on the internet for digital artists and designers. For this first post in the series, we're going to take a look at a somewhat surprising entry to the world of free stock photos: a massive collection of images released into the public domain by the New York Public Library.

Finally made available to the public just today, the NYPL has digitized and released a massive collection of over 180,000 images in an equally massive range of content, from old photographs to illuminated manuscripts and all kinds of ephemera in between. This brings the total number of images in the NYPLs collection that are available to the public up to over 670,000, which is easily more than anyone would be able to sift through in a lifetime (or so it might seem at first).

To help people sort through this huge collection, the library has thoughtfully created a number of ways to search through the images beyond the simple title and author searches that people associate with libraries. Instead, images can be sorted by century, by genre, by library collection, or - probably most usefully - by colour. This will give people looking for a certain kind of inspiration a great way to sort through images, and no matter what you're looking through, it's always entertaining in a surreal kind of way.

In the past, many of these types of digital images were almost impossible to view and use, as you'd have to be a member of a specific organization, or the images would be of such low resolution that they weren't good for very much, or they would have such draconian usage restrictions as to be virtually useless. Fortunately for artists, designers and everyone else, the new trend seems to be towards making these images available as widely as possible.

Shana Kimball, the New York Public Library's manager of public outreach programs, sums it up succinctly, "No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!"
So the next time you're looking for examples of old-timey ephemera for your latest art project, don't settle for a recycled version that someone has already interpreted - go straight to the source thanks to the New York Public Library!
 

Posted on January 09th 2016 on 04:55pm
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