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The British Library’s “Mechanical Curator” million

- December 19, 2013 in British Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Images, Images-17th, Images-18th, Images-19th, Images-Animals, Images-Design, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-People, Images-Photography, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Last week the ever-incredible British Library announced that they were gifting more than 1 million images to the world, uploaded to Flickr Commons under the public domain mark, meaning complete freedom of re-use. The range and breadth of images is phenomenal. As they say in their post announcing the release the “images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of”. Each image was extracted from its respective home (books making up a total of 65,000 already digitised volumes) by a program known as the ‘Mechanical Curator’, a creation of the British Library Labs project. A crowdsourcing application is being launched in the new year (likely using tools developed by our very own Open Knowledge Foundation!) to help describe what the images portray – and the British Library is also putting out a general plea for people to innovate new ways to navigate, find and display this incredible array of images. (Email BL Labs here). Although, of course, it will one day be wonderful to be able to sort and filter these images into […]

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type and Borders (1874)

- December 4, 2013 in chromatic wood type, collections, Columbia University Libraries, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Images, Images-19th, Images-Design, Internet Archive, typography, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Some select pages from the exquisite Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc. (1874), a specimen book produced by the William H. Page wood type company. Chromatic types, which were made to print in two or more colours, were first produced as wood type by Edwin Allen, and shown by George Nesbitt in his 1841 Fourth Specimen of Machinery Cut Wood Type. It is William H Page’s book, however, that is considered to be the highpoint of chromatic wood type production. As well as providing over 100 pages of brilliantly coloured type, the book can also be seen, at times, to act as some sort of accidental experimental poetry volume, with such strange snippets as “Geographical excursion knives home” and “Numerous stolen mind” adorning its pages. One wonders whether the decisions about what words to feature and in what order were entirely arbitrary. Thanks to the wonderful Bibliodyssey blog where we came across the book: visit the post there for more info on the book and a great list of related links. Housed at: Internet Archive | From: Columbia University Libraries Found via: Bibliodyssey Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or […]