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NYPL Releases Public Domain Material for Download

Jennifer Schuessler reports in the New York Times that the New York Public Library will release more than 180,000 photographs, postcards, maps, and other items in the public domain from the library’s special collections as downloadable high-resolution files on their website. Users will also have the freedom to circulate the files at will. According to Ben Vershbow, the director of the library system’s technology division NYPL Labs that has led the project, “We see digitization as a starting point, not end point…we don’t just want to put stuff online and say, ‘Here it is,’ but rev the engines and encourage reuse.”

Most items included in this release have already been accessible via the library’s digital collections portal, the difference being that the files are now available for free and immediate download. NYPL Labs was an intiative started in 2011 and in the future plans to offer “Remix Residencies,” which will provide funds for users’ projects that incorporate the public-domain materials.