Director, Digital Library Program
The New York Public Library
In the course of building NYPL Digital Gallery (450,000 publicly available digital images) the Library engaged the expertise of several well known historians, curators, scholars, artists and researchers. Most important to this group was the idea of the tertiary products that would result from the initial publication and the concern that building context in derived formats was essential for the non-trivial use of the content. Collectively we imagined many possibilities including, digital exhibitions, digital monographs, print matter, educational guides, etc. In fact, web afficianados such as “Pantufla” (on Flickr) and “Boing Boing” have put a lie to those musings by harvesting thousands of images from the Gallery, modifying the core metadata and sometimes the images; and then communicating with other bloggers regarding his/her modifications. The conversation that began among bloggers last March, when the public site was launched, continues, as bloggers pass original digital materials and the deconstructed ones into a common forum for discussion on authentic vs. artistic content and the effect it is having on visual and social culture on the web.