British Library uploads a million archival images for free use

In an inspired gesture to encourage digital crowdsourcing, the British Library has uploaded one million scans from 17th- to 19th-century books to Flickr for public domain use.

The library's goal was for anyone to "use, remix and repurpose" the enormous digital treasure trove of illustrations, maps, landscapes, paintings and decorative letters. It's the first step in an interesting new plan that includes the launch of a new crowdsourcing application early next year to help describe what the images portray.

"There are very few datasets of this nature free for any use and by putting it online we hope to stimulate and support research concerning printed illustrations, maps and other material not currently studied," the library announced on its website.

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