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Mechanical Curator's Cuttings
British Library Labs
Art
Literature
History
Medium
500,000+ public domain images released on to Flickr
CC0
Images released are out of copyright due to age. Released as CC0, some marked CC-BY on flickr.
images
JSON
XML-RPC
REST-API
hourly
Twitter: [@benosteen](https://twitter.com/benosteen)
5

Mechanical Curator's Cuttings is a large (c. 500k) colletion of copyright free small illustrations and ornamentations, from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th Century books - curated by a robot.

The illustrations are derived semi-randomly, semi-thematically from digitised books in the British Library archive using CV and face recognition algorithms. They are posted to Flickr and Tumblr, so available for reuse through those APIs. It tweets, but that is currently (Nov 13) broken.

Code is available on GitHub

Ben O'Steen has written up the idea, code and publishing process: the full underlying collection data is not currently available, but the published output of the bots represents an open collection of images. There's an introductory post by James Baker dealing with the problems of face recognition, too.

Example

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mechanicalcuratorcuttings/10599176186/

Image taken from page 9 of 'Works of Charles Dickens. New illustrated library edition. [With a preface to each work by Edwin P. Whipple.]'

Original image size: (576 x 766)

Contents of Flickr Comment field:

Image taken from page 9 of 'Works of Charles Dickens. New illustrated library edition. [With a preface to each work by Edwin P. Whipple.]' Image from 'Works of Charles Dickens. New illustrated library edition. [With a preface to each work by Edwin P. Whipple.]', 000930642 Author: Dickens, Charles Volume: 04 Page: 9 Year: Place: Publisher: Following the link above will take you to the British Library's integrated catalogue. You will be able to download a PDF of the book this image is taken from, as well as view the pages up close with the 'itemViewer'. Click on the 'related items' to search for the electronic version of this work.

Flickr Tags:

  • bldigital
  • date:
  • pubplace:
  • public_domain
  • mechanicalcurator

Technical Details

Available through the Flickr API. You will need a Flickr API Key