Difference Between Giving and Taking? NYPL’s 187,000 Images

Dinner by Food and Cookery Magazine“DINNER [held by] FOOD AND COOKERY (MAGAZINE) [at] “THE MONICO, LONDON, [ENGLAND]”

Generally, professional designers don’t like crowdsourcing. We hold little enthusiasm for so-called “opportunities” offered by profitable companies to submit work—for free, of course—in hopes of winning their approval (like when Dog é Style Restaurant announced its logo contest). In most cases, crowdsourcing results in companies taking a lot for themselves and giving very little to designers.

That’s one side of the issue. Here’s another, more positive side:

The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is “chronically underfunded,” as PCMag says in this article. Yet, the 105-year-old public institution initiates brilliant crowdsourcing programs that benefit the givers (doers) and much as the receiver (NYPL). Take, for example, What’s On the Menu?. Launched in 2011, this epicurean’s delight crowdsources the transcription of 45,000 historical restaurant menus, which, by virtue of their type and design, are indiscernible to optical character recognition when digitalized. To date, online volunteers have transcribed more than 1,331,929 dishes from 17,545 menus.

In return? We, the people, whether we volunteer or not, are given viewing access to NYPL’s magnificent collections.

Just last week, NYPL thrilled the world once again with this news release:

“Today we are proud to announce that out-of-copyright materials in NYPL Digital Collections are now available as high-resolution downloads. No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!”

That’s right, 187,000 public domain images for digital download. For free! For artists, historians, educators, scientists, well, for everyone, this is an unimaginable treasure trove. Oh, the glory of it all!

In celebration of this release, NYPL invites us to participate in its Labs Remix Residency. Yes, this is crowdsourcing of sorts (the PR will certainly generate donations). And yes, it’s a contest. But once again, NYPL puts the people back in public and offers us something in return—creative use of 187,000 images!

So here’s the dish:

NYPL invites us to brainstorm “transformative, interesting, beautiful new uses” of its digital collections. They’re looking for projects that use pre-existing works to create new things (you know, a remix). Maybe a menu? Maybe a quilt? Maybe a board game? They encourage us to surprise them!

Here’s another way NYPL is unique in its crowdsourcing: Participants are only required to submit a proposal of their project. From there, NYPL will choose two proposals and award them each a $2000 stipend for completing their project. How cool is that?

Start brainstorming! Proposals are due February 19, 2016.

Looking for ideas? Here’s a good article. In fact, any one of the NYPL blogs is a good article!


Want to show your appreciation for 187,000 free images? Consider donating to NYPL or your own local library. Libraries offer us so much!

Wednesday Webs: I AM AIGA

Adunate is a proud sustaining member of AIGA

I just renewed my annual AIGA membership. This is a big expense for me, a solo entrepreneur, but it’s a statement I’m willing to make. I support the joining together of creative professionals, both newcomers and seasoned professionals.

On that note, among others, here’s an interesting article on AIGA’s opinion of the logo for Tokyo’s Olympics 2020:

Wednesday Webs: Potica and Other Delicious Musings

Slovenian Potica

Last weekend we gathered the family together and made potica. If you’re of Slovenian or Austrian descent, you likely know how delicious this heritage coffeecake is—tons of butter, cream, honey and nuts. No calories whatsoever!

While beer-touring in northern Minnesota this fall, we ate lunch at the Biwabik Pub, easily the friendliest, tastiest bar and grill in all the Gopher State. The owner Sharon was more than happy to discuss potica with us because in that area everyone and their brother is Slovenian. According to her, each family has its traditional recipe and, like all traditions, each claims its is best. Sharon even offers annual potica classes right there in the pub (this year her Christmas class was cancelled because a family baby is on the way, instead she’s offering it at Easter—she’ll let us know).

So this week I’m eating potica, deliciously packing on seasonal pounds, and perusing interesting sites:

November Means Working Together (Pro-Bono)

sandhill cranes in the distance

Here it is November and we still have sandhill cranes. If you look closely in this zoomed-to-the-max iPhone shot, you see two of them enhancing the otherwise desolate cornfield. They caught my attention a few mornings ago as they gaggled away in response to another pair far in the distance. This weekend we’re supposed to get several inches of snow so these snowbirds will likely say to heck with this and take off for warmer temps.

Aren’t the migratory habits of birds amazing?

For example, for several months in autumn the sandhills gather in wetlands before heading south. These are called staging areas and here in Wisconsin there are several where thousands of cranes assemble at a time. I like to imagine this is a time of preparation and joining together of forces for the arduous journey ahead.

You probably knew migrating birds fly in the V-Formation, officially known as the echelon formation. They do this for its aerodynamic advantage, obviously. But did you know birds take turns flying the front helm of this V, a very strenuous task? And did you know the mortality rate for birds is six times higher during the migration season? Given this, isn’t it interesting that even though survival favors the selfish—those that promote their own well-being before that of others—the God-given nature of birds is to selflessly share the responsibility?

This author makes a good point when he says, “If migrating birds work together, the flock has a greater chance of having all of its feathered brethren make the long trip to their destination.”

Working together. For the good of all.

With this caring concept in mind and because November is the month of giving, let me announce it’s my season for pro-bono applications. Each year Adunate accepts two pro-bono projects for greatly reduced or no cost. These are projects I strongly support and believe will positively impact God’s creation, his people, or his ministry.

My interests include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Architecture
  • Arts
  • Children
  • Faith
  • History
  • Humanity
  • Natural Food & Living
  • Nature & Animals
  • Preservation & Sustainability

If your organization needs creative assistance in the upcoming year, click here for an application. Then, to guarantee your project’s success, be sure to click here!

Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2015. I will let applicants know of my decision in January.

Wednesday Webs: Changing Seasons

Giardiniera

Believe it or not, I’m still canning garden produce. This tasty Giardiniera has been fermenting for a few weeks and is now ready to be sealed in jars. It will be my last batch and as I pack away the kettles, I’ll say adiós and gracias for a bountiful year!

So, winter, bring it on! I’m ready and waiting!