Recently, there have been regular reports of libraries, foundations, etc. putting huge databases of their archives – scans of books, illustrations, historical documents, videos – online. As a rule, access to these archives is free and completely free. Just as free you can learn about marketing and try to create your own SaaS marketing plan
180,000+ scans and photos from the New York Public Library
The New York Library has shared more than 180,000 images. You can use them absolutely free of charge. These are scans of manuscripts, maps, photographs, sheet music, postcards, and a host of other images. The images can be ranked by century, genre, color, or library collection. The library has also decided to create several games and software tools, among them a Pac-man-like toy that lets you explore typical New York City apartments of decades past. And here you can compare what some of the streets of New York City looked like in 1911 and now.
12,000+ books and documents from the World Digital Library
The WDL opened in 2009 as an initiative of the Library of Congress and UNESCO, and its goal is precisely to enrich the Internet with non-English-language cultural and historical evidence. It is not the biggest library with collections, but it is the most multilingual. It now has 12,000 virtual exhibits from 200 countries. And it’s also quite nice and convenient. For example, you can choose a search language and see what resources have been made available to cultural institutions that consider Russian their native language. Mostly these are geographical atlases, periodicals, and ethnographic notes. There is also remarkable evidence of post-revolutionary literary movements from the Russian National Library or the avant-garde agit-posters of the “windows of ROSTA”.
4,500 images from the British Museum
The British Museum opened online access to its collection – visitors to the site can see 4.5 thousand exhibits. Virtual tours are organized with the use of Google Street View technology; the digital exhibition was a joint project of the Google Cultural Institute and the British Museum.
Old Book Illustrations – more than 1000 book illustrations of the 18th-20th centuries
An online archive with over a thousand vintage book illustrations from the 18th-20th centuries. All the images can be downloaded, and the site has a convenient search by author, book, and date of creation. An accompanying text accompanies each illustration.
65,000 digitized paintings from the Museum of Modern Art in New York
The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) has made freely available 65,000 digitized paintings from 1850 to the present. In total, the museum’s collection contains more than 200,000 works by 10,000 artists created during this period. A search is available for a specific painting and work of a specific artist, as well as by specified filters.
Harvard Library Collections
“The Harvard Library brings together dozens of libraries from medical school to law school. It has been digitizing a selection of the library’s holdings as part of a Google library project since 2005. One can find a terrific selection from the history of US advertising, or a full-text research project on the social life of the USSR, or a project about the Soviet ballet, and much more.
1,000,000+ images from the British Library
The British Library has uploaded over a million scanned copies of the images to Flickr, designating them as public domain. This means that the images can be used by anyone without any restrictions. The collection includes graphics from different times: there are paintings from the Restoration era and images of America’s first colonists. Maps, drawings, handwritten letters, illustrations, geological charts, comic strips, cartoons, posters, and decorative ornaments. Exploring all this wealth is like entering a wonderland. The only thing to note is that to access Flickr images, you need to have a Yahoo account.
A huge database of historical images
The American researcher Calev Litaru has created a gigantic database of 12 million historical images, allowing anyone to use it at will. Thanks to automatically assigned labels, the database allows you to search through all the pictures. The pictures and drawings are taken from more than 600 million book pages scanned from libraries by the Internet Archive. It used to be quite difficult to access such images.