The British Library recently added more than one million images from more than 65,000 public domain books published in the 17–19th centuries to its Flickr Commons page with a CC0 license to encourage users to remix, reuse, and repurpose the images. Included in the million images are geological diagrams, illustrations, comics, illuminations, landscapes, paintings, and more.
The images on Flickr have a set of descriptive tags to help identify the works, including the year of publication, the book record number, and author. Plans for a crowd sourcing project to add more robust descriptive information about the images are in the works for next year.
Check out the British Library Flickr Commons!
Via BoingBoing and the British Library’s Digital Scholarship Blog.
Image taken from page 182 of ‘Onze aarde. Handboek der natuurkundige aardrijkskunde … Met 150 platen en 20 kaartjes in afzonderlijken Atlas’
The photography blog PetaPixel recently posted about photography books in the public domain that have been included in Project Gutenberg digital library. Of the 37 books to be fully digitized, perhaps the most exciting is the inclusion of William Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, published in 1844. The book details his calotype process and includes 24 images of finished calotype prints with text describing the image’s creation and significance.
For more information, visit Project Gutenberg.
NYPL has now scanned nearly all of its public domain New York City atlases… and built a web tool where users both inside and outside the Library can virtually stretch old maps onto a digital model of the world à la Google Maps or OpenStreetMap, thus creating a new copy that is not only aligned with spatial coordinates on the Earth, but normalized across the entire archive of old maps… All of this is done collaboratively, through the piecemeal efforts of staff, volunteers, and interns, a group of roughly 1,500 participants worldwide.
Read more about the project here. To participate, begin by creating an account here and then check out a YouTube tutorial here.
Are you hungry for high quality, publishable images to use in your dissertation or manuscript? Trying to avoid expensive licensing fees? Not sure what images are in the public domain?
If so, consider the following resources for copyright-free or copyright-lenient images. Most image sites include both high and low resolution images, with high quality TIFFs available upon request. Please note that each resource/institution may have specific requirements for attribution or limits on print runs. When in doubt, contact the institution before using the images in your publication.
Do you know of additional resources that we should add? Contact us!
General Resources and Guides
Museum Image Resources
Image Resources by Subject
- Index of Christian Art: Romanesque
- Index of Christian Art: Lois Drewer Database
- International Society for the Study of Pilgrimage Art: Peregrinations Photo-bank
Royalty-Free Images (One-time Fee)
Happy Birthday, Dorothea Lange! Farm Security Administration photographer Dorothea Lange was born on May 26, 1895. Because she worked for the government, some of her images are in the public domain including those available from the National Archives.