Thursday, March 3, 2005

NYPL Digital Gallery

From today's New York Times . . . "Let the browser beware. The New York Public Library's collection of prints, maps, posters, photographs, illuminated manuscripts, sheet-music covers, dust jackets, menus and cigarette cards is now online (www.nypl.org/digital/digitalgallery.htm). If you dive in today without knowing why, you might not surface for a long, long time. The Public Library's digital gallery is lovely, dark and deep. Quite eccentric, too. So far, about 275,000 items are online, and you can browse by subject, by collection, by name or by keyword. The images first appear in thumbnail pictures, a dozen to a page. Some include verso views. You can collect 'em, enlarge 'em, download 'em, print 'em and hang 'em on your wall at home."

A search under "Louise Brooks" brought up eight results, including two cigarette card images of the actress and six images from her days with Denishawn. Oddly enough, the NYPL has especially strong holdings in these two areas - cigarette cards and Denishawn. Scans of some 21,206 cards are online now. While a search under "Denishawn" brought up 78 pages of results. I did a few other random searchs. "Clara Bow" brought up seven results. "Rudolph Valentino" two results. "Charlie Chaplin" three results. "Buster Keaton" four results. If you are looking for something, it seems best to search under different keywords. A search under "Ziegfeld Follies" brought no results. While "Ziegfeld" brought four results.

The database seemed slow to respond (and display), but I am sure it is being overrun with search queries. Also, I wasn't sure if more than thumbnail images were displayed for any given entry. I couldn't get larger scans of the Louise Brooks thumbnail images to show. Here is a link to the New York Times story on the debut of the collection. Happy hunting.

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