The New York Public Library (NYPL) has made over 180,000 copyright-cleared digitised items available as high-resolution downloads. The collection, including rare and unique materials, can be accessed and downloaded via NYPL Digital Collections: http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/
For the full list of resources included within NYPL Digital Collections please see the NYPL blog: http://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/01/05/share-public-domain-collections
Some highlights include:
- Berenice Abbott’s iconic documentation of 1930s New York for the Federal Art Project
- Farm Security Administration photographs by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and others
- Manuscripts of American literary masters such as Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Papers and correspondence of founding American political figures such as Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison
- WPA-era lithographs, etchings, and pastels by African-American artists
- Lewis Hine’s photographs of Ellis Island immigrants and social conditions in early 20th-century America
- Handscrolls of the Tale of Genji, created in 1554
- Over 20,000 maps and atlases documenting New York City, North America, and the world
- More than 40,000 stereoscopic views documenting all regions of the United States
This is a wonderfully rich and varied resource which will be of interest for researchers in a wide range of fields: social history, race, immigration, American studies, photography, American literary studies, cartography, medieval manuscripts and more.
Furthermore the NYPL is looking to encourage new and interesting uses of its innovative digital collections, and to this end have created the Remix Residency programme. Administered by NYPL Labs, the library’s digitisation and innovation team, the residency aims to facilitate creative and transformative uses of digital collections and is targeted at artists, designers, educators, technologists and more. The NYPL Labs team have also been busy creating a series of resources intended to facilitate this creative reuse of the NYPL Digital Collections: a “mansion builder” game; an interactive exploration of grand turn of the century New York apartments, a then and now comparison of New York’s Fifth Avenue and a “trip planner” using locations extracted from mid-20th-century motor guides.
In their own words (NYPL Labs, 2016) ‘digitization is just the start- the real magic happens when these collections make their way into the hands of scholars, educators, technologists, and creators of all types.’
Contributor: Alexandra Duncan, Central Saint Martins (UAL)