Fun with public domain!!

Fun with public domain!!


On January 6th, The New York Public Library made over 187,000 images from public domain available for download in high resolution.  Something like this is both exciting and confusing.  What can you do with all of those pictures?  I mean, so what? Who is going to look through all of them and what could you get out of them?  Part of a librarian’s job is to help patrons evaluate and use the information that they find and NYPL Labs is working on really cool ways to use these images.

First is an experiment from Labs called Visualize the Public Domain, where the images are grouped by color, genre, collection, and my favorite, century.  There are images from the 11th century on here!


Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Nu’mân kisses the hand of Muhammad, embracing Islam.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1003.

Notice how citations are included??  This is from the 11th century people!!

Explore more and you will find menus from the Astor Hotel in 1933, a map of New York City from 1778, or sheet music for a song called “I don’t want to play in your yard” (1894).  There are also tons of photographs, art prints and engravings to go through as well.

Final thing I found today:


A letter from Alexander Hamilton to his wife Eliza.  BOOM!


Coming soon…fun projects to do with all of these great pictures!!


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