Last week (5th January 2016) the New York Public Library announced the release of more than 187,000 digitisations of public domain works, all available for hi-res download completely free from restrictions. Accompanying the release is a vast improvement of their browsing interface, allowing you to sort through a myriad of options including, genre, time period, and topic. It is a true joy to use. Furthermore, "to encourage novel uses of our digital resources", they are running a new Remix Residency program which will be administered by the Library's digitisation and innovation team, NYPL Labs. As they state in the press release the residency is intended "for artists, information designers, software developers, data scientists, journalists, digital researchers, and others to make transformative and creative uses of digital collections and data,and the public domain assets in particular". A wonderful opportunity! They have got the ball rolling with a few projects of their own including this brilliant visualisation of all 187,000 items. All in all, it is an incredible new benchmark for how institutions should treat digitisations of public domain works: making sure they are free from restrictions, and inspiring re-use with a great interface and the encouragement of spin-off projects using the material.
Below we present our highlights from an afternoon's browsing — a selection which we hope shows the breadth and depth of the content released. Each image is linked through to it's source on NYPL's website.
Jan 12, 2016