May 23, 2018

A Wellcome Trove of Images

L0033500 A Navajo man in ceremonial dress representing the Yebichai gThe highly regarded Wellcome Library in the United Kingdom has released a new web site with over 100,000 digital images for viewing, and in some cases, downloading. The images include “manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements,” as well as contemporary images.

Unlike most web sites that provide access to digital or digitized images, the Wellcome Library is upfront about whether a given image is “rights-managed” or not, and any image that is not can be downloaded in full. For example, the image included with this post by Edward Curtis can be downloaded in all of its 3,654 x 5,048 pixel glory.

What’s more, they are being released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license, which enables their use for either personal or commercial use with attribution of the source. This is very “welcome” news indeed, as it will allow all kinds of potential uses that most sites have prohibited in the past by adopting rather restrictive terms.

Available art images include etchings by Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco Goya. Eadweard Muybridge’s studies of motion are there as well, as are photographs covering a wide array of topics. This new trove of online images is clearly a treasure.

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.