N.Y. Public Library Shows Rare Treasures In Online Videos
A new online initiative is aimed at reminding viewers about some of the hidden gems in the archives at the New York Public Library. NY1’s Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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The New York Public Library is now expanding to Facebook, YouTube and iTunes, by launching a new online video series highlighting rare documents that can only be seen in person. Such documents include handwritten letters by Katherine Hepburn and menus from long-gone restaurants.
“What we've amassed over the course of more than 100 years is one of the single greatest repositories of all kinds of materials about the human experience and there are more than 50 million items in these collections,” said N.Y. Public Library President Paul LeClerc. “This shows the sometimes interesting or quirky or fascinating things we have at the library.”
Curators of the collections say part of this effort is to remind people there's more to a library than just books. Featured documents, like maps, often times give a more concrete visual than words alone of what life was like in the past.
“We have everything from road maps from the 1920s to 2001, to antique atlases bound in vellum hand drawn on handmade paper beautiful materials,” said Alice Hudson, chief of the library’s map division. “So we go from the mundane to the very exotic.”
Many of the resources covered have not been posted to the internet.
“There's a myth out there that ultimately everything's going to be online. However, that's a myth,” says LeClerc. “Collections are so immense in this library and other great libraries that for a long, long period of time if you want to dig in deeply, you'll have to come to us.”
To whet your appetite for such resources, see the new video series at www.nypl.org/news/treasures.
The library says, in addition to continuing work with Google on a project to digitize books from libraries all over the globe, it will join many top-notch libraries in putting more collections, exhibits and even lectures online.