The venerable and free Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary has a new public beta, and… “search and especially advanced search have been completely overhauled”.
The Smithsonian now has a unified open-access picture library online, primed with an initial 2.8 million hi-res images. The licencing appears to be uniformly CC0. Another 200,000 images will reportedly be added through 2020, with more in future years.
It’s easier to use than the main ‘advanced interface’ — where, on a search for cats for instance, you’ll have a very hard time figuring out how to remove scans of the pages of old botany recorder-books (with text-only records of cat’s tail plants) — when you just want pictures of furry cats.
The new CC0 portal is very slow at present, probably due to the weight of visitors arising from the publicity and the bots from the likes of Alamy which are doubtless already strip-mining it. But a search for cats in the Collection, with CC0 eventually loaded and the first page suggested it to be a fine collection, although it rapidly turned into cat skulls and botany (‘cat’s-tail grass’ etc) on the second and third pages.
A test download gave a large 7Mb .JPG file…
It appears not to be on Google Search or Google Images in any substantial form, as yet. “CC0” is on each record page in plain-text, so can theoretically be used as a keyword by Google. But it appears, from the following search…
site:www.si.edu/object/ “Cats” “CC0”
… that Google has not yet indexed the new 2.8m record pages. Indeed, one wonders if they ever will, as even a broad…
…reveals a mere 70 results in Google Search. If they hardly index the existing pages, then what hope for the new 2.8m?
Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor 2.0 is free photo stitching software for desktop PCs. (Also backed up at Archive.org). Although it bills itself as yet another panorama-stitching software, if can also stitch hand-held ’tiled’ sequences of images, provided there is overlap. Such as multiple images of a large old poster. The software is the product of Microsoft’s Photosynth years, and both very fast and accurate.
As a test I started with three images from eBay, non-scanned and made with a hand-held camera…
After import the files were automatically arranged by file-name numbering: 1, 2, 3. Then by using the Structured | Layout section it was easy enough to get the three images into a column…
Automatic can be used, but the best results come from jiggling the Structured | Overlap sliders until you have an approximately good fit. It seems the fit doesn’t have to be perfect.
From there you go to the next step, Stitch, and if it’s not done right you go back and adjust the Overlap sliders again. It only took me two tries to get a perfect stitch.
Cropping and export is then very straightforward. As you can see there’s a slight skew at the top and bottom, but further finessing of the Overlap sliders might fix that.
A very nice bit of free software, and so much easier and faster than other possible options. One could, theoretically, use this with screenshots of a public-domain picture trapped inside a tiled viewer, quickly re-combining these into a large whole image.
Stadtische Gallery in Munich, Germany, has kindly placed scans of all their public domain works online. A test search for kat (cat) also picked up katalog and katherine. A search for katze (cats) was no better, but did pick up two tigers. A search for katen (tom-cat) found nothing. This suggests either that the Germans were not historically cat-lovers, or that the range of pictures is limited compared to other open online galleries. A search for hund (dog) suggests the latter.
A Google site search of site:https://www.lenbachhaus.de/en/discover/collection-online/ fared little better with kat, but did discover the fine 1916 woodcut “Der Leopard” (Der Tiger).
A specific search on the site for tiger then found another three not discovered by kat. Possibly the Germans don’t always consider a tiger/leopard to be a ‘big cat’, as the British do? Thus, a mix of Google and a number of on-site searches seems best for a deep-dive.
There is a Creative Commons filter, tucked away under: Refine results | How to use | CC. The standard here seems to be CC-BY-SA. A Kandinsky scan was found to be 2000 x 1602px at 300dpi.
Not all material that one would expect to be available under CC actually is, for instance the 1916 tiger woodcut and the 1918 woodcut “Plakat fur die Gabriele Munter”.
New Zealand now has 45,000 low-res images from the nation’s museums under Creative Commons. They’re on Artstor as a public collection.
A search “within collection” for keyword cat had 48 good results. One can then right-click on a result and load it in a new tab. From there it’s easy to get a download, and there’s only the lightest of barriers.
My test downloads, however, were all low-res (1024px, 96dpi), while the viewer images appear to be much higher res but are locked inside a tile-viewer. The downloads are just about of a size to be amenable to A.I.-driven resolution scaling, though.
Original of Marion Queenie Kirker’s 1930s portrait of an old sailor, 1024px:
A.I. up-rez to 2400px and a quick colourise:
Not ideal, but there are no jaggies and it’s acceptable for a wide-bordered page in a PDF magazine. One would have to retrieve the larger tiled image and re-assemble, if one wanted better. Which can be done with freeware: waft the mouse cursor around a bit to get it all loaded, then save as a PDF, extract images from the PDF with PDF Image Extractor 1.0, re-assemble in a grid using the Pages module in PhotoScape.
Results relevance is keyword-based, rather than having kittee-trained A.I. identify that there’s a cat in the picture. But the relevance ranking is fairly good, at least on this test.
A volunteer Newsletter Editor is required by the UK’s CILIP, for their Library and Information History Group. The Group’s Newsletter appears three times a year. Deadline: 29th February 2020.
The museums of Paris now kindly offer a royalty-free image filter on their online collection. My test search for chat (cats, felines) gave 376 results, from what are said to be 150,000 newly uploaded CC0 images. These are the filters you want to find CC0 + ‘has an image online’…
I find it’s possible to set the site to use English, but that version is not fully translated. “Image libre de droit seulement” is still present in the supposedly English interface. “Datation” is obvious and allows you to set a date-range.
A right-click / “open in new tab” on the “Voir/See” button then takes you to the item’s record page with a download link. Download links are public (i.e. without a sign-up or other obfuscation), start quickly, and my test image came inside the .ZIP format.
In my first test I had a 4k 300dpi .JPG, at 6.5Mb. Nice. A few more tests shows the same thing, and the scans are clean and crisp. I downloaded about ten .ZIPs, some simultaneously, and did not encounter wait times or a ‘daily limit’ pop-up.
The keyword relevance is a bit off, though, being overly broad. For instance, chat also finds chatiments (punishments), which may cause chuckles among schoolkids encountering spankings and canings while doing innocuous homework on ‘kittees from history’…
Thankfully the results produced nothing more shocking than that, which was a surprise give the goriness of the French revolutions and the pungency of their satirical arts.