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Caught this on the BBC News site; Millions of historic images posted to Flickr

An American academic is creating a searchable database of 12 million historic copyright-free images.

Kalev Leetaru has already uploaded 2.6 million pictures to Flickr, which are searchable thanks to tags that have been automatically added.

The photos and drawings are sourced from more than 600 million library book pages scanned in by the Internet Archive organisation.

...

Visitors to the site are free to copy and make use of the pictures without charge.

"Most of the images that are in the books are not in any of the art galleries of the world - the original copies have long ago been lost."

The pictures range from 1500 to 1922, when copyright restrictions kick in.

Flickr link - Internet Archive Book Images

Image from page 36 of "Pets and how to care for them" (1921)

The project has resulted in even more pictures of cats being put on to the internet.

When I was a kid, we had an old pre 1900 dictionary with the coolest illustrations at the back of it along with all the illustrations in the body next to words. I would spend many a hour marveling over all these images. Sort of a Sears catalog on steroids.

Sort of like this

Image from page 378 of "The locomotive engineer" (1888)

Happy browsing

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