The Library of Congress has created a fantastic online trip down the history lane. Newspaper Navigator is an online base consisting of 16,3 million newspaper pages, out of which 1.5 million are photos. It covers the period between 1900 and 1963, giving you a whole lot of historic newspaper photos and headlines in just a few clicks.
Newspaper Navigator is a part of the Library of Congress’ project Chronicling America. It’s essentially a database of digitized newspaper pages that you can browse through. It has existed for a while now, but what’s new is that you can now browse through newspaper photos only.
What I find particularly interesting is that Newspaper Navigator is AI-based. It’s a project by Benjamin Charles Germain Lee as part of the LoC’s 2020 Innovator in Residence Program. He trained the algorithm so that the computer learned to differentiate between various image categories. In other words, this helped the AI recognize photos, as well as other types of images such as illustrations, maps, comics, etc.
“The visual content was identified using an object detection model trained on annotations of World War 1-era Chronicling America pages,” the LoC explains. This included “annotations made by volunteers as part of the Beyond Words crowdsourcing project.”
I searched for a few random topics that first crossed my mind, including “Eiffel,” “fashion,” and “Yugoslavia.” You can be more specific, narrow down the time frame, or simply be more creative than I was – and I bet you’ll find plenty of interesting stuff. And if you’d like to browse through other image galleries for your daily dose of history, I suggest the following galleries:
- Europeana Photography Collection
- Paris Musées online collection
- The Met Museum online gallery
- Arab Image Foundation gallery
- Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection
- American Museum of Natural History Research Library
- The Guggenheim Museum online archive (books)
- The British Museum online collection