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NY Public Library releases 180,000 free public domain pictures

Yes, you can use the old-timey photos for free.

The New York Public Library has made 180,000 old-timey, out-of-copyright pictures available as high-res downloads through its Digital Collections website. "No permission required, no hoops to jump through," writes its Public Programs Manager Shana Kimbal. The Library has even created a few demo projects to help you discover images you may find interesting, because the pile truly is massive, with a big number of entries a lot of people might consider mundane. Think barely legible scripts and restaurant menus.

While you can browse photos on the Digital Collections website itself, one of the projects is a visualization tool where you can quickly scan all the available photos. From there, it's as easy as clicking an image and downloading it in the resolution you want. No need to sign up for an account. The Public Library has also released a simple game called "mansion building" that exposes old building floor plans bit by bit as you explore it.

"Street View, Then and Now" shows you how Fifth Avenue has changed within the past century by comparing photos taken in 1911 with those taken in 2015. Finally, NYPL has created a tool that allows you to plan a trip using Green Book. That's a travel guide which listed hotels, restos and bars from way back in the 30's to the 60's when you couldn't just hop online and get directions in an instant.

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