Google to archive 10 million Life Magazine photos

Heather Havenstein
20 November, 2008
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Google Tuesday said it plans to archive as many as 10 million photos from Life Magazine’s archives dating back to the 1750s—many which have never been published before.

Google Tuesday announced that it will add the images from Life photographers to its Google Image Search pages. Only a small percentage of the images—including newly digitised images from photos and etchings—have even been published, Google said in a blog post . The rest have been “sitting in dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints,” Google said.

“This effort to bring offline images online was inspired by our mission to organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” according to Google. We’re digitising them so that everyone can easily experience these fascinating moments in time.”

The announcement comes in the midst of a bolstered Google effort to add offline content like newspaper archives to its site. In September, it launched an effort to digitise millions of pages of news archives, making millions of old newspaper articles accessible and searchable online. Google has also been digitising books since 2006.

Google said that so far, about 20% of the Life photo collection is online. The rest of the magazine’s entire archive – 10 million photos – will be accessible over the next few months. The site now offers access to Life photos of 1930′s oil boom, the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, the 1963 March on Washington the Vietnam War , Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy , Marilyn Monroe and other subjects.

The Life collection will include photos from Life photographers like Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White and include photos of world events and those that captured everyday lifestyles and fashions, Google said. The photos will be provided with Google’s other image search results along with other images from across the Web, the company said.

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