The New York Public Library has released over 180,000 images in the public domain on their Digital Collections website. The images are digitized and available in high resolution to the public for free downloads and reuse without any restrictions.
The images include historic maps, botanical illustrations, unique manuscripts, photographs, ancient religious texts, and a lot more. These images are either out-of-copyright or have been previously available in the public domain in lower resolutions. Previously, it was required for users to pay for the administration fees and undergo other processes.
The collections include over 20,000 maps and atlases documenting the New York City, North America and the rest of the world. It also has more than 40,000 stereoscopic views documenting all regions of the United States. NYPL Labs also provides a visualization tool to explore images by century, genre, collection or color.
“These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds. All subsequently digitized public domain collections will be made available in the same way, joining a growing repository of open materials.” the library said in a statement.
NYPL Labs have also released a few more tools to explore the collections in a fun way. Firstly, a ‘mansion builder‘ game to explore floor plans of the 20th century New York City apartments. Secondly, a ‘then-and-now‘ comparison collection of the 1911 wide angle pictures of New York’s Fifth Avenue with Google Street View images taken in 2015. There is also a trip planner called ‘The Green Book‘ from the mid-20th century listing hotels, restaurant, bars and other destinations where Black travelers would be welcomed.
The digitized collections are also available on GitHub as machine-readable data in CSV and JSON formats.