New York Library Online Archives Include 729,730 Public Domain Images

Central Park, 1862, New York City. From the NYPL Digital Collection.
Central Park, New York City, 1862, From the NYPL Digital Collections.

The New York Public Library’s Digital Archives include today, 729,730 public domain prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and whatever else they can find. The images are available in high-resolution downloads. “No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!”

Photographs are grouped into collections by subject. They include unique and rare materials as well as images of everyday life in New York for centuries. In 2016, the library improved the website’s technical design so it is faster and easier to use. The redesigned website has more obvious download links and filters that highlight public domain images.

Technical changes allow users to do bulk downloads and analysis. If you are even more adventurous,  there are data exports and utilities posted to NYPL’s GitHub account.

Digitized Public Domain Images Change the World

The archives are intended for sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds. New materials are constantly being added.

Artists and designers in New York will remember the days of visiting a cluttered room of hundreds of boxes on a high floor of a former factory to go through boxes of magazine clippings with photographs their subjects. They could be rented for a month — 20 for $10 or some such fee.

Redundant comment: How easy it is now—and overwhelming.

As one commenter said, “I am now a rich man.”

A related article in the Atlas Obscura blog: The NYPL Just Released More Than 180,000 Images. We Picked the Best of Old New York by Anika Burgess, 7 January 2016.

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