Internet Archive Releases Millions of Public Domain Images; I Personally Benefit

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Thanks to the many people who’ve sent this bit of info my way! In a move that mirrors the British Library’s similar endeavor from a few months ago, the Internet Archive has placed images from 500 years’ worth of public domain books on Flickr, millions and millions of pictures and emblems and logos and marginalia from digitized books.

Here’s Flickr’s official statement.

And, in a move unlike the British Library’s, in this case they’re attempting to use contextual clues from the OCR’d text preceding and following the image to determine ways to thematically tag the images. It’s not…perfect? (The image at the top of this post is tagged “Historical buildings”.) But it’s a pretty cool effort nonetheless!

You can also browse by year, decade, or century, which is super cool if you want to narrow down the type of art style you’re looking for (as I tend to want to do).

I browsed a few dozen pages of the Flickr set and found some cool images that I used in today’s comic! Here are some of my sources:

The men in the foreground
The browsing man in Panel 1
Some of the vases on the tables
An object on a table in the far background

The other elements in the strip today came from my existing collection.

I love things like this, obviously! Hooray for culture! Hooray for old stuff, it’s a souvenir of the world we weren’t around for, and a reminder of where we have been as humans before.