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article imageMillions of historic images posted to Flickr

By Tim Sandle     Aug 30, 2014 in Internet
A U.S. academic has created a searchable database of 12 million historic copyright-free images on the photo hosting service Flickr.
The vast array of photos and drawings have been sourced from more than 600 million library book pages scanned in by the Internet Archive organisation. According to The Drum, many of the images are rare and the majority have been difficult to source. The images consist of photographs and drawings.
The project has been initiated by Kalev Leetaru and he has already uploaded some 2.6 million images, marking a major digitisation project. The aim is to have 12 million old-time images upon completion. Leetaru's service is called "Internet Archive Book Images".
Image from Canadian grocer July-December 1895. This image is tagged on Flickr:  Supermarkets Grocery...
Image from Canadian grocer July-December 1895. This image is tagged on Flickr: "Supermarkets Grocery trade Food industry and trade."
Canadian grocer
Discussing his motivation for the project with the BBC, Leetaru said: "For all these years all the libraries have been digitising their books, but they have been putting them up as PDFs or text searchable work. They have been focusing on the books as a collection of words.
"This inverts that.Stretching half a millennia, it's amazing to see the total range of images and how the portrayals of things have changed over time. Most of the images that are in the books are not in any of the art galleries of the world - the original copies have long ago been lost."
Old match box  Canadian grocer July-December 1895.
Old match box, Canadian grocer July-December 1895.
Canadian grocer
Each image is in the form of a jpeg and it comes with associated text. This allows people to hunt through the vast catalog using the Flickr's search tool. It is possible, using a single search term, to see the historical progress of places, societies and technologies.
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