Kunstformen der Natur (or known in English as Art Forms in Nature) is a book of prints by German biologist, Ernst Haeckel. The geometric shapes and natural forms captured precisely by Haeckel continue to inspire artists and scientists. Via Wikimedia Commons, you may access more than 100 illustrations from the publication.
BILDGEIST is a “visual journal of scientific illustrations, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, prints and artworks from the public domain”. The images are of various themes including astronomy, alchemy, mythology, cartography, anthropology, zoology, botany, and general curiosa. Users can filter the contents by period, categories and keyword tags.
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.
Australian Prints + Printmaking provides “a gateway for information on printed images from Australia and the Asia Pacific region”. The site provides a database of prints and printmaking by artists from Australia and the pacific regions, including New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The site also allows users to explore the collections through three experimental web interfaces, designed by Mitchell Whitelaw and Ben Ennis Butler. The interfaces are created as part of their research into ‘generous interfaces’ that attempt to provide new ways to explore digital collections. Users can search or browse by artists, subjects, works and networks, and decade summary.
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.
Display is “a curated collection of important modern, mid 20th century graphic design books, periodicals, advertisements and ephemera”. Developed by Kind Company, a web and print design agency based in New York, the intention was to spread awareness of Graphic Design as “a source of educational, historical and scholarly analysis for teachers, students, designers and independent researchers”. Images from Display are digitised from original items within the collection.
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.
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.
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.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is “a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global ‘biodiversity commons'”. Started in 2011, the staff of BHL began to upload illustrations from books in their collections. These illustrations were created over the past 500 years. To date, more than 98,000 of natural history and botanical illustrations have been uploaded to their Flickr account.
Viintage Graphics is a “public domain image repository” that focuses on the term “vintage”. Through their website, users can browse the images by collections.
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.
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.
Funded by the Duke Endowment “Library 2000” Fund, Ad*Access is a project that presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. The images provide a perspective of major campaigns and companies in 5 main areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II.
Driven by the LOC Prints & Photographs Division, PPOC contains catalog records and digital images from their holdings. These includes photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings.