2013 is coming to a close and in this author's opinon, one of the greatest things to happen this year has been the release of hordes of public domain images by major institutions. From the Getty Open Content program to crazy macro photos of bees. We've seen a massive surge in public domain contributions. Today we get to add another donor to the list, and quite possibly the biggest I've seen so far.
The British Library has uploaded more than one million copyright-free images to it's Flickr photostream. They are all very old images, some photographs and many more that are drawings or illustrations. They would definitely have use for artists that wish to add some unique design elements to their creations. In fact, that appears to be exactly what The British Library had in mind according to a recent statement.
"The release of these collections into the public domain represent the Library’s desire to improve knowledge of and about them, to enable novel and unexpected ways of using them, and to begin working with researchers to explore and interpret large-scale digital collections.”
The hope attached to that statement is that users will help to complete missing metadata for the pieces as time goes on. It is not a requirement to use the images however. I think it would be incredible if more institutions adopted this practice. Not only could the collective effort of the internet really do some good in cataloging unidentified works...but it also gives us all the ability to experience pieces we might never have been able to see before.
All in all I'm pretty thrilled with this. I hope it continues.
Direct link to the British Library Flickr account. ;-)