The New York City Department of Records has recently launched a new webpage–the NYC Municipal Archives Online Gallery–which grants public access to a vast and expanding database of digitized photos, maps, motion pictures, and audio recordings. At present, there are over 870,000 digitized records from the Municipal Archives’ collections. Now, according to my calculations, and provided you accept the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” we’re talking about content worth more than 870 million words here! The folks who’ve put this together have maintained a high level of descriptive metadata standards, as each entry contains fields such as title, creator, subject(s), description, date, type, format, source coverage, and notes. The holdings are arranged by collection, although the entire database is fully searchable by keyword, with an advanced search function available as well.
Nope, this image is not in the gallery (sorry to disappoint, it just came from a Google image search). The rights and permissions prevents the publication of the images contained within the online gallery without appropriate licensing arrangements. However, digital facsimiles in various sizes are available for purchase on the website’s order page with an easy click or two of a button.
Easy public access to digitized archival materials was once the wave of the future…now it’s present reality. Here’s but one form of proof!