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Here we list the major sources for material found on The Public Domain Review: both online content aggregators (websites which bring together into one place digital copies from disparate sources) and the content providers themselves (the institutions who will often hold the physical object from which the digital copy has been made). Some of these institutions have their own websites for navigating the material, some only publish through larger aggregation initiatives.

This section of the site is intended to be at once a celebration of the sources we use in the creation of The Public Domain Review and also a mapping of the current landscape of openly licensed collections, a map which we hope will encourage you to explore these wonderful sources for yourself.

Click on the “See their content on the PDR” link to be led through to the dedicated page for that particular institution with more info and a listing of their material which is featured on our site.



CONTENT AGGREGATORS


The Internet Archive – a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of “universal access to all knowledge.” A vast majority of the content on The Public Domain Review is sourced from its enormous archives of books, films and audio material.

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Wikimedia Commons – an online repository of free-use images, sound, and other media files to which anyone can contribute. As well as uploads from individuals many institutions have signed up to partnerships to donate their material all under open licenses.

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Flickr: The Commons – an initiative, begun in 2008, to increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and to provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. Material with “no known copyright restrictions” is contributed by a vast array of participating institutions from all over the world.

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Open Images – an initiative of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in collaboration with Knowledgeland, an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse.

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Biodiversity Heritage Library – a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.”

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Europeana – an internet portal that acts as an interface to millions of books, paintings, films, museum objects and archival records that have been digitised throughout Europe. More than 2,000 institutions across Europe have contributed.

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Medical Heritage Library – a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries, promoting free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine.

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CONTENT PROVIDERS



British Library – the national library of the United Kingdom which holds over 150 million items from many countries, in many languages and in many formats, both print and digital.

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Rijksmuseum – a Dutch national library with a collection consisting of 1 million objects, dedicated to arts, crafts, and history from the years 1200 to 2000, many digitised.

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Library of Congress – the national library of the United States and the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. Since 1994 it has made digitized versions of collection materials available online.

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The Walters Art Museum – an internationally renowned museum of art, the collection amassed substantially by two men, William and Henry Walters, and eventually bequeathed to the City of Baltimore. They have done an amazing job of digitising the collection and presenting it on their beautiful website which includes the ability to create your own personal collections.

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art – the largest art museum in the western United States. In early 2013, a new collections website was launched that dramatically increased accessibility to the museum’s holdings, with now nearly 20,000 high-quality images of public domain artworks downloadable without restriction on use.

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University of Houston Digital Libraries – a collection of openly licensed digitisations focusing on digital collections of materials documenting the history of the University of Houston, City of Houston, and State of Texas, as well as other significant materials related to the University’s teaching and research mission.

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The National Archives – an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice of the United Kingdom. It is the UK government’s official archive, containing 1,000 years of history.

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U.S. National Library of Medicine – the world’s largest medical library. Its collections include more than seven million books, journals, technical reports, manuscripts, microfilms, photographs, and images on medicine and related sciences including some of the world’s oldest and rarest works.

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National Library of Poland – acts as the central library of the state and one of the most important cultural institutions in Poland. Its mission is to protect national heritage preserved in the form of handwritten, printed, electronic, recorded sound and audiovisual documents.

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National Gallery of Denmark – known in Danish as the Statens Museum for Kunst, the museum collects, registers, maintains, researches in and handles Danish and foreign art dating from the 14th century till the present day. As a pilot, they have released some of the highlights from their collections under an open license and available for free download.

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National Library of the Netherlands – based in The Hague and founded in 1798. Their mission is to provide “access to the knowledge and culture of the past and the present by providing high-quality services for research, study, and cultural experience”. They have much of their collections digitised and available under an open license.

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United States Naval Observatory – the USNO library holds one of the most complete collections of astronomical literature in the world and its digitised content is available through the Naval Oceanography Portal website.

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Villanova Digital Library – the digital collection of the Falvey Memorial Library of Villanova University in the United States. The initiative assembles, presents, and preserves digital collections that support the teaching and research of the campus and the global community of scholars. Much of the digital collection is available under a CC-BY-SA licence.

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The Getty – an L.A. based institution dedicated to critical thinking in the presentation, conservation, and interpretation of the world’s artistic legacy. It carries out this mission through various cultural programs including the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute.

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The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library – one of the world’s largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts and is Yale’s principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. The Beinecke Library’s robust collections are used to create new scholarship by researchers from around the world.

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California Digital Library – founded by the University of California in 1997 to work on digitising and making accessible the university’s vast material in its collections. The CDL is one of the major contributors to the Internet Archive through which their digitised material can be explored.

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The Royal Society – a learned society for science based in London, founded in 1660 it is possibly the oldest such society still in existence. “The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Phil. Trans.) is a scientific journal published since 1665, and scans of the journal’s articles published prior to 1923 have been shared on Internet Archive under the Public Domain Mark.

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University of Toronto Libraries – the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind only Harvard and Yale. The system consists of 44 libraries and a vast number of their books have been digitised with the help of Microsoft and are available on the Internet Archive under an open license.

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Prelinger Archives – a collection of films relating to U.S. cultural history, the evolution of the American landscape, everyday life and social history. It was physically located in New York City from 1982–2002 and is now in San Francisco. Over 3,200 public domain films are available for download and unrestricted reuse on the Internet at the Internet Archive.

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Deutsche Fotothek – a picture library in Dresden, Germany, located in the Saxon State Library. It holds more than two million images. Its strengths are in art, architecture, music, geography, technology, the economy, and the Saxony region.

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Princeton Theological Seminary Library – the largest theological collection in the United States and second in the world, behind only the Vatican Library in Rome. The library has over 1,242,483 bound volumes, pamphlets, and microfilms, many digitisations of which are available through the Internet Archive.

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National Media Museum – physically located in Bradford in England, the museum is home to seven floors of material devoted to photography, television, animation, videogaming, the internet and the scientific principles behind light and colour. They have teamed up with Flickr: The Commons to share digitisations of those images which they believe to be free from copyright restrictions.

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New York Public Library – the second largest public library in the United States (and third largest in the world), behind only the Library of Congress. Open material available through Internet Archive and Flickr: The Commons.

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Cornell University Library – The Cornell University Library system holds more than 8 million printed volumes in open stacks, 8.5 million microfilms and microfiches, more than 71,000 cubic feet (2,000 m3) of manuscripts, and close to 500,000 other materials, including motion pictures, DVDs, sound recordings, and computer files in its collections.

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Boston Public Library -a municipal public library system in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States, the first large library open to the public in the United States, and the first public library to allow people to borrow books and other materials and take them home to read and use.

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Geographicus Rare & Antique Maps – a specialist dealer in fine and rare antiquarian cartography and historic maps of the 15th though 19th centuries. A large portion of their inventory of authentic antique maps is online at their website. Geographicus Rare Antique Maps donated their collection of digital images of maps in March 2011.

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – contributing digital content under an open license to the Internet Archive in several areas: Illinois history, culture and natural resources; U.S. railroad history; rural studies and agriculture; works in translation; as well as extensive collections of 19th century “triple-decker” novels and emblem books written between 1540 and 1800.

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Smithsonian Institution Libraries – comprising of 20 branch libraries serving the various Smithsonian Institution museums and research centers, its collections number over 1.5 million volumes including 40,000 rare books and 2,000 manuscripts. Although much of their digitised public domain material is not published under an open license some material is.

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SMU Central University Libraries – the largest of the Southern Methodist University library administrative units, with holdings of more than 2.1 million volumes. It comprises the Fondren Library Center, the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library, the DeGolyer Library of Special Collections, the SMU Archives, the ISEM Reading Room, the Norwick Center for Digital Services, and the Fred Wendorf Information Center at SMU-in-Taos, New Mexico.

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