Internet Archive Book Images Now Available via Flickr Commons

Posted in resources by Editor on August 31, 2014


Image from page 274 of Comte de Caylus, Recueil d’antiquités égyptiennes, étrusques, greques et romaines (Paris : Desaint & Saillant, 1752). More information is available here»

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

As noted here at Enfilade in December, the British Library made available over a million images from the pages of seventeenth-, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century books via Flickr Commons. The BBC now reports that Georgetown University Fellow in Residence Kalev Leetaru has uploaded 2.6 million pictures sourced from books digitized by the Internet Archive. Publication dates range from 1500 to 1922. All images are tagged and available for free download. A quick search for Caylus turned up the image shown above. Search options are limited, and it took me a few moments just to work out how to search only within the Internet Archive Book Images, as opposed to all of Flickr (proof only of my own clumsiness; once you start typing in the main search box in the upper right hand corner, you should see a photostream option appear just below). How useful this resource is will depend upon what sort of search you’re attempting, but the possibilities seem extraordinary. In addition to the news story excerpted below, the Flickr Blog provides further information. CH

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Leo Kelion, “Millions of Historic Images Posted to Flickr,” BBC News (29 August 2014).

An American academic is creating a searchable database of 12 million historic copyright-free images.

Kalev Leetaru has already uploaded 2.6 million pictures to Flickr, which are searchable thanks to tags that have been automatically added. The photos and drawings are sourced from more than 600 million library book pages scanned in by the Internet Archive organisation. The images have been difficult to access until now. Mr Leetaru said digitisation projects had so far focused on words and ignored pictures.

“For all these years all the libraries have been digitising their books, but they have been putting them up as PDFs or text searchable works,” he told the BBC. “They have been focusing on the books as a collection of words. This inverts that. . . .”

The full BBC story is available here»


◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

More about the Internet Archive, from the Wikipedia entry on the organization:

Internet_Archive_logo_and_wordmarkThe Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of “universal access to all knowledge.”[2][3] It provides permanent storage of and free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books. As of October 2012, its collection topped 10 petabytes.[4][5] In addition to its archiving function, the Archive is an activist organization, advocating for a free and open Internet. . .


2. “Internet Archive Frequently Asked Questions.” Internet Archive. Retrieved April 13, 2013.

3. “Internet Archive: Universal Access to all Knowledge.” Internet Archive. Retrieved April 13, 2013.

4. “10,000,000,000,000,000 bytes archived!” Internet Archive Blogs. October 26, 2012. “On Thursday, 25 October, hundreds of Internet Archive supporters, volunteers, and staff celebrated addition of the 10,000,000,000,000,000th byte to the Archive’s massive collections.”

5. Brown, A. (2006). Archiving Websites: A Practical Guide for Information Management Professionals. London: Facet Publishing. p. 9.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: