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article imageBritish Library uploads 1 million images for remix and reuse

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 14, 2013 in Technology
London - It can be hard finding the right image online but it can be even more daunting finding one that you are free to use. News that the British Library has uploaded one million public domain images to Flickr has to be a boost.
The images date from the 17th-19th century and are all from books. The British Library explains the books were digitized by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images back to the library. This allowed the library to release the images back into the Public Domain.
The British Library made the announcement saying,
The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.
The library is reportedly "embarking on an ambitious programme to crowdsource novel uses and navigation tools for the huge corpus. Already, the manifest of image descriptions is available through Github. This is a remarkable, public spirited, archival project, and the British Library is to be loudly applauded for it!", reports Boing Boing.
The images remain something of a mystery as the 'Mechanical Curator', a creation of the British Library Labs project, randomly selects images from books. The exact location of the images, that is the book, volume and page is known but no specifics regarding each image.
Fear not though as the project is not complete yet. Early in 2014 the library will launch a crowd-sourcing application to supply the images background information.
The one million images come from 65,000 books but as the British Library says they have many millions of books.
This is an innovative project and you can join in. "If you need help or would like to collaborate with us, please contact us on email, or twitter (or me personally, on any technical aspects) Ben O'Steen at the British Library.
Note: The British Library is also working in partnership with the Qatar Foundation and the Qatar National Library to digitize half a million pages of archival and manuscript material relating to the Gulf, creating an online portal that will be available to a diverse range of audiences around the world(see video below).
More about British library, public domain images, Remix, reuse, London
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