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Spotlight on the Public Domain

#nyplremix: Get Creative With the Public Domain

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This is one of a series of blog posts related to the NYPL Public Domain Release: discover the collections and find inspiration for using them in your own research, teaching, and creative practice. 

Blue Skies at NYPL
Blue Skies at NYPL! Remix images just like this one. Image ID: ps_mss_cd19_284

Now that you have access to thousands of high-resolution public domain images from The New York Public Library... what are you going to do with them?

We want to know! Tag your creations with #nyplremix so we can see them.

Stuck in a creative rut? Got a case of artist's block? Not sure where to begin? Here are some digital and analog crafting resources, along with collection highlights that we hope will get the inspiration flowing.

How to Download

While browsing and searching Digital Collections, click on the "Only Public Domain" checkbox under the search box or on the left-hand side of the screen. If you are looking at a collection view, you can click the "Filter" tab at the top of the collection description to see the button.

These are images that have no known copyright restrictions!

Once you have found an image you want to use, you will see download options in green on the right side underneath the image. Click on the drop down arrow for the highest resolution images.

What to Make

Paper

Fabric

Whale quilt
Whale quilt by Jessica, right, and the whale that inspired it, left, Image ID: 823814

Gifts

Wall

Owl mural
Use The Rasterbator to make a large mural. Image ID: 414794
Framed map from NYPL's Public Domain collection
Frame a map of your neighborhood. This one is near the Parade Grounds in Brooklyn, Image ID: 1517519

Digital

iPhone endpaper wallpaper
Use endpaper as your electronic wallpaper. Image ID: 1120156
fish collage
Make animated gifs like this at MakeaGif. Bluefish (Image ID: 477157) swimming through a sea landscape (Image ID: 480056)

Recommended Reading

Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter's Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects by Jessica Pigza; photographs by Johnny Miller; photostyling by Shana Faust; illustrations by Sun Young Park. The original guide to using library collections in your crafts. Step by step guides as well as general advice for the aspiring bibliocrafter!

The Artist's Library: A Field Guide from the Library as Incubator Project by Laura Damon-Moore and Erinn Batykefer. Features inspirational prompts for your artistic practice as well as stories from artists themselves on how library collections have influenced their work.

Collections and Items of Interest

Check out the Wellcome Collection’s post on the creative power of exploring collections.

Many thanks to Jessica Pigza for her help with this post!

Have you been inspired by or created new works by re-using items in NYPL’s Digital Collections? We would love to hear about your work! Please share it with us using #nyplremix or by email at digitalcollections@nypl.org.

Comments

Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Where is the "Only Public Domain" checkbox?

Try as I might, I have been unable to find the "Only Public Domain" checkbox mentioned: "While browsing and searching Digital Collections, click on the "Only Public Domain" checkbox under the search box or on the left-hand side of the screen. If you are looking at a collection view, you can click the "Filter" tab at the top of the collection description to see the button." I am looking at the first page when I click on the link, "Digital Collections." Thanks.

Hi Gail, as soon as you click

Hi Gail, as soon as you click into the search box and start typing, you should see that box appear below. If you've conducted a broad search you can also narrow it down when you get to the results page on the left.

Commercial Use/Use on websites/Canadian users

Hello - three brief questions: 1) Can these images be used in media pieces made by me with intent to sell? 2) My I use any of these for free on my website (background images, etc.) 3) Is there any limitations what with my being based in Canada? Thank you!

Hi Erin, you can read more

Hi Erin, you can read more details on our items with "No known U.S. copyright restrictions" here: http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/about#use. You don't need our permission to use the images as you'd like, but we've only made these determinations within our jurisdiction (the US)

Thank you for the inspiration

What a gift NYPL has made to the world. Thank you!! I've bookmarked this post so to return and look at the links provided. The whole idea of Remixing using these collections is exciting.

Book cover

Hello, Thanks for this precious gift ! Is is possible to use these pictures for book cover design in France ? (commercial use) Thanks

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