NY Public Library Opens Up Its Special Collections

On Wednesday, January 6, the New York Public Library released more than 180,000 photographs, postcards, maps and other public-domain items from the library’s special collections in downloadable high-resolution files — along with an invitation to users to grab them and do with them whatever they please.

Most items in the public-domain release have already been visible at the library’s digital collections portal. The difference is that the highest-quality files will now be available for free and immediate download.

Street View, Then & Now, for example, allows users to wander up and down Fifth Avenue, comparing a current image of any location from Google Streetview with wide-angle shots taken by the photographer Burton Welles in 1911.