I know, we weren’t speaking of bugs yesterday; we were speaking of snakes but I needed a title.
I was reading Stephen Downes OLDaily the other day and he made reference to this resource , Internet Archive Book Images in a “one more thing” type of reference. I’d never heard of it so I checked it out and wow!
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when you didn’t walk around with a camera in your pocket to take pictures of everything.
The content here is culled from scanning old literature and putting them in one place. At my visit, there were 5,249,952 Photos.
And they start with bugs.
Image from page 369 of “Encyclopédie d’histoire naturelle; ou, traité complet de cette science d’après les travaux des naturalistes les plus éminents de tous les pays et de toutes les époques: Buffon, Daubenton, Lacépède, G. Cuvier, F. Cuvier, Geoffroy Sa
But certainly, you’re not limited to that.
It’s a Flickr gallery so searching is pretty easy and it has all of the tools that you would come to expect from that service. After browsing for a bit, I started typing in random words to see the results.
The sources are well identified and come with “No known copyright restrictions“.
By itself, I found that curious. We live in a day of trying to understand copyright, using creative commons, etc. Back in the day, what were their expectations? Did they expect that their work would be copyrighted and that that copyright lasted forever? Did they give it away so that others could enjoy their efforts?
Could they have foreseen that our society would rewrite rules? What about the copyright that we think that we’re applying to our works today? Will it still be relevant years from now?
Image from page 348 of “Encyclopédie d’histoire naturelle; ou, traité complet de cette science d’après les travaux des naturalistes les plus éminents de tous les pays et de toutes les époques: Buffon, Daubenton, Lacépède, G. Cuvier, F. Cuvier, Geoffroy Sa
I was amazed at the quality of the artwork and, of course, with the wide variety of the collection.
It may well be a step back from photos but does reflect our abilities and wishes to document as a society. In addition to the beauty of the images, I also couldn’t help but admire the artistic abilities of the creators.