Itching for new source material? The British Library has a public Flickr account that showcases over a million images sourced from books published centuries ago. This account not only gives anyone digital access to a wide range of obscure drawings, photographs, etchings, and others of the likes, it also allows the public to manipulate and make use of them anyway they chose. The Library released a statement;
“We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. 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 images span such a large array of topic areas and media that the librarians aren’t fully aware of what many of the images are. By allowing the public access to these images, the library not only shares them with the masses, but also hopes to collectively acquire knowledge about the content. The Library is planning to release a tool that will allow willing participants to offer information about the images with the aim to create a sort of referential guide.
This is a really amazing resource for artists, illustrators, graphic designers, and just anyone who is in to that sort of thing. Check out the full collection here, or just the highlights here (again, there are over a million).