The Internet Archive and Open Library offers over 6,000,000 fully accessible public domain eBooks for free. This massive content pool has inspired Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo researcher at Georgetown to extract over 14 million images from 2 million public domain books and upload them to Flickr.
In a statement on the Flickr blog “Perhaps what is most remarkable about this collection is that these images come not from some newly-unearthed archive being seen for the first time, but rather from the books that we have been digitizing for years that have been resting in our digital libraries. Through the power of big data we are suddenly able to view the world’s books not as merely piles of text, but as individualized galleries of one of the richest and most diverse museums of imagery in the world.
The Internet Archive’s team hopes that this project inspires us all to reconnect with our cultural past and that you will join this exciting journey to unlock the visual tapestry of the world’s books. Check back regularly as more of the 14 million images will be uploaded to Flickr over the coming months!”
The purpose of this image uploading project is to allow the internet at large, to remix existing photos from public domain books. This allows anyone to be able to use them without having to pay a copyright or licensing fee.
If you feel like walking down memory lane, check out the official project on Flickr.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.