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.
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.
Vintage Printable provides images that are believed to be on public domain or out of copyright. Most of the images are focused on vintage naturalist or scientific illustrations. Users can search or browse by different categories.
Developed by The Open Knowledge Foundation, The Public Domain Review is “an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety”, as according to the website. Images in their collections are derived from a wide range of online archives, that are on public domain. The images are arranged by topics, where users can search or browse by time, style, genre, type, content and rights.
Started more than 30 years ago by Cartography Associates, the David Rumsey Map Collection “focuses on rare 16th through 20th century maps of North and South America, as well as maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania”. The collection includes “atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children’s, and manuscript maps”. Their digital collection contains more than 61,000 images, where users can search or browse by types, locations and periods. The website also provides many ways to view the map collections, such as Luna Browser, Georeferencer, Google Earth, etc. Learn more about the evolution of the physical collection into the online collection here.
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.