The New York Public Library’s digital collections are vast. In early January 2016, they added more than 180,000 of its public-domain holdings to the digital collection. Visitors will find maps, posters, manuscripts, sheet music, drawings, photographs, letters, ancient texts, all available as high-resolution downloads. “These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds,” the library says in a statement.
Documents range from literary manuscripts and sheet music to maps, atlases, and stereoscopic views. The library also notes that the documents include Farm Security Administration photographs, papers from Founding Fathers, WPA-era art by African-American artists, the 16th-century Handscrolls of the Tales of Genji, and illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance.
The materials can be viewed and downloaded at the Digital Collections site.
Having trouble imagining what 180,000 images might look like? The NYPL also created a visualization of all the materials, sorted by date, genre, collection or even color.
Other cool projects that the NYPL has created — to fuel inspiration for others to use their open API of the collection:
- a game based on public-domain mansion floor plans
- a comparison of 1911 street photos with 2015 Google Street View images
- a trip planner based on a guide to where black visitors would be welcomed in the 1930s-1960s
A sampling of the newly-available high-res images from the NYPL: