This collection is a cabinet of curiosities compiled by Sydney-based Paul K (also known as PK or peakay). It contains rare book illustrations and drawings from digital repositories, covering a wide range of “styles, topics and time periods… from astronomy to zoology and from Art Nouveau to the Renaissance”, as indicated by PK. Each set of images are accompanied by a URL linking to the bibliodyssey website that contains the background commentaries. A book titled “BibliOdyssey : archival images from the Internet” was also published in 2007 based on the compilation. As of October 2015, more than 10,000 images have been uploaded to Flickr.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or National Archives is a “record keeper” of the United States Federal government. Besides contributions from the National Archives, the Flickr account contains photographs from the National Archives and the federal photography project called Project DOCUMERICA (1971 – 1977). The project was initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to capture the environmental problems and achievements of that era.
Wikimedia Commons is a “media file repository” of public domain and freely-licensed educational media content, including images, sounds and video clips. Launched on 7 September 2004 by the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Commons uses the “wiki-technology” that is the same technology used in Wikipedia. Wikmedia Commons also aggregates files from other projects, including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wikisource, and Wikinews. As of October 2015, there are more than 28.7 million files in more than 120,000 collections. Users can conduct a keyword search or browse the content by topic, type, author, location, license and source.
The Project Apollo Archive was first created in 1999 by Kipp Teague. It contains photographs pertaining to the historic manned lunar landing program – Apollo. According to Teague, the archive is “a re-presentation of the public domain NASA-provided Apollo mission imagery as it was originally provided in its raw, high-resolution and unprocessed form by the Johnson Space Center on DVD-R and including from the center’s Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth web site”. All digital images are scanned from the original photographs taken by Hasselblad cameras.
The National Media Museum is situated in the UNESCO city of film, Bradford in United Kingdom. It houses more than 3.5 million items in their collections that are of cultural significance to photography, cinematography and television. The museum contributed about 580 photographs to Flickr Commons, which include photography equipment, famous photographers and writers, British Royal Family, significant events and world’s first moving pictures. Each image includes commentary provided by the museum.
The LIFE Photo Archive is a comprehensive archive of photographs and etchings that are produced or owned by the defunct LIFE Magazine, dating back to the 1750s. Captured by LIFE photographers and photo journalists like Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, the photographs documented important events in the world, evolution of fashion and lifestyles and the lives of celebrities and everyday people. According to Google, most of the photographs have never been published. Started in 2008, users can search for millions of images from the LIFE archive, which contains about 10 million photographs. Users can do a keyword search by adding “source:life” to any Google image search. For example, “vietnam war source:life”. Alternatively, users may browse by different categories.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand. Their collections online contain information of more than 500,000 works of art. Among them, more than 30000 have downloadable images for reuse in high resolution. Users can search by keywords.
The Mauritshuis is home to the Royal Cabinet of Paintings, which consists some of the world’s famous paintings by the Dutch and Flemish masters from the Golden Age. Popular examples include Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch by Fabritius. Most of their works of art can be discovered online with close to 900 images in their online collection. Users can search or filter by artist, date, object type, material and inventory number.
Since 2013, British Library released more than 1 million images to Flickr Commons. The images were obtained from the Library’s digitised collection of 65,000 books of the 17th, 18th and 19th century. The release of these images indicates 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 images are arranged by different themes, such as book covers, illustrated letters, maps, flora and children book illustrations.
Callisphere is “the University of California’s free public gateway to a world of primary sources”. Powered by the California Digital Library (CDL), the platform currently have more than 230,000 images, contributed by 139 archives, libraries, museums, and historical societies in California. Users may search or explore the images across different themes or topics.
The Museu d’Art de Catalunya, or MNAC in short, is a national museum located in Barcelona, Spain. The museum is known for its outstanding collections of Romanesque mural paintings and Catalan Modernism. Their digital collection contains more than 8,500 images of artworks from their collections. Users can browse the collections, search and narrow the results by classification, themes and period.
Wellcome Images is one of the visual collections of the Wellcome Library. It contains themes ranging “from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and science”. To date, there are close to 130,000 images across different themes.
The NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 800,000 images digitized from the library’s collections, which spans across different mediums, subjects and time periods. The collections include illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs. The collections can also be browse through different categories – Arts & Literature, Cities & Buildings, Culture & Society, History & Geography, Industry & Technology, Nature & Science, and Printing & Graphics.
Based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the State Hermitage Museum is one of the world’s largest and oldest museums. From Paleolithic to contemporary, the museum has more than 3 million items in its holding. The museum also has the world’s largest collection of paintings, which includes famous paintings from the great masters, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, etc.
The Tate is a group of four museums, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St. Ives, Cornwall and Tate Modern. The museums focus on British art and International contemporary and modern art. Its digital database contains more than 69,000 images of collections across the museums. Among them, more than 7,300 are with Creative Commons. Users can search and refine the results by date, object type, artist, subject and collection.
The National Gallery in London contains the national collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries, with works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh and more. The collection can be filtered by subjects, themes, artists, styles and timeline. Subjects include Travel, Still Life & Objects, People & Costume, Land, Sea & City, Work & Leisure, Seasons & Weather, Religious & Biblical, Mythological, Plants & Animals and Historical.
The collection provides access to more than 125,000 paintings by Dutch artists, such as Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. Users can explore and search the entire collection, which is handily sorted by artist, subject, style and even by events in Dutch history. Each painting can be downloaded in high-resolution or view at close-up. The museum also provides an application, RijksStudio, to invite users to create their own masterpieces by downloading images of artworks or details of artworks in the Rijksmuseum collection and using them in a creative way.