The Internet Archive adds 14 million free images to Flickr

Internet Archive book images on Flickr

Over 14 million images from 2 million public domain books will be available on Internet Archive Book Images photostream on Flickr.

The Internet Archive, a digital library of over 19 petabytes (600 million pages) of digitized texts, is in the process of adding a vast collection of free images to their Flickr profile.

The library has partnered with Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo researcher at Georgetown University, to extract over 14 million images from 2 million public domain books available for download from the Internet Archive.

Each of the scanned books is being processed not only to extract the very image, but also the accompanying text. This way, when added to Flickr, images will be easier to find, share, and work with.

When you’ll visit the Internet Archive Book Images photostream – flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages – you can use the search box to find images inside the collection. Simply, from a drop-down list select “Internet Archive Book Images photostream”.

Every image comes with a detailed description (title, year of publication, authors, and publisher), but that’s not all. As the books were OCR’d (scanned text was converted to computer-readable text), you’ll find also “text below” and “text after” – approximately 500 words before and after each image.

The image page links to other illustrations from the same book, as well as an online book viewer on the Internet Archive – if you want to switch from visuals to words.

So far, Kalev Leetaru uploaded 2.6 million pictures, and every day lots of new ones appear. The collection will grow continuously even after, with images from over 1,000 new ebooks the Internet Archive scans each day.

In a Flickr blog post, announcing the collection, we read:

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.

In the future, the Internet Archive will not only add new images and collections, but also share some ideas of how to use image recognition tools to help us learn quicker and better.

It’s worth reminding that Internet Archive Book Images is not a first huge injection of free images to world’s most popular photo sharing site. In December 2013, The British Library has released over 1 million images on a Flickr profile, for anyone to use, remix and repurpose.

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