It is only during recently that widespread access to many millions of out or copyright and Public Domain works has been possible. Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive are some key examples of this. More libraries and institutions are making their collections available online, whilst, at the same time some publishers and authors are offering  some of their work on line as open.  This section of the toolkit brings together some of the variety and breadth of content and media. 

Children's Book Collection This collection from the Library of Congress includes classic works that are still read by children today. It also showcases lesser-known treasures drawn from the Library’s extensive collection of historically significant children’s books.

Classics Illustrated  dating from the 1940s to early 70s, some of the famous literary classics such as Les Miserables, Moby Dick, Macbeth, Gulliver’s Travels, the Odyssey, illustrated and told in US comic book format.

Digital Bodleian Over a million images of rare books, manuscripts, and other treasures from the Bodleian Libraries and Oxford college libraries. most are available to download under a CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

Internet Archive eBooks and Texts A database of 15,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. This vast repository includes a collection of 550,000 modern eBooks that may be ‘borrowed’ by anyone with a free archive.org account. 

Internet Archive Scholar a newly established service enabling one to search for research articles and scholarly documents. The collection spans from  eighteenth century journals through the latest Open Access journals.

Library of Congress Open Access Books a growing online collection of contemporary open access e-books. All books are available for download under open access licenses to allow the broadest possible access and reuse. All books are vetted to conform to the Library's Collections Policy Hard copies are available for purchase.

Project Gutenberg is an online library of over 58,000 free books to download or read online. Choose from HTML, ePub or Kindle formats, download them or read them online.

Virtual Public Library provided by Paul Getty Publications, the library shares over 300 open access books to download or read online. Categories include Antiquities, Architecture, Painting, Photography.


"Early maps are complex and richly textured documents that constitute a crucial element of our modern cultural heritage. We can use them to trace humanity’s spatial histories, from engagements with nature to modern globalization. By studying their production, we can comprehend how art, technology, faith, and science intertwine in the human experience. By exploring how they have variously been used, we can develop a social history of culture. The study of maps thus encompasses and integrates the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Their study offers such compelling insights that anyone can enjoy and learn from them." Osher Map Library”

Collection of maps of King George III  The British Library plans to post 40,000 items, also includes architectural drawings and watercolours. The first 1800 are now online with no known copyright restrictions.

Library of Congress Map Collection the Library of Congress holds an extensive and varied collection of categorised historic maps available for download. No Copyright restrictions.

Osher Map Library at the university of Southern Maine contain original maps, atlases, globes, books, and scientific instruments, dating from 1475 to the present, available for download under a Creative Commons CC BY NC licence

Rumsey Map Collection One of the finest collections of maps available with over 105,000 unique maps, charts and pictorial maps from the 16th to 21st Century. These are available to download in very high resolution, up to 6000 pixels. Includes excellent linked metadata allowing you search specific fields; for example space. Maps are available under a Creative Commons CC BY NC 3.0 licence. Latest additions.

University Of Cambridge Digital Maps now has over 300 manuscript maps available to view and explore on the Cambridge Digital Library for the first time. Some useful background information here.

NSL The National Library of Scotland has an extensive collection of maps available under Creative Commons licences.  The maps can be compared with other map sources and formats using NLS MapViewer tool


Comic Book Plus a historically significant archive, of Public Domain Comics which also includes some esoteric newspapers and magazines. A superb source of material for researchers, cultural historians and re-mixers. It also includes links to related materials, such as this item on Girls Comics or this academic study from Bournemouth University.

The Magazine Rack  is a downloadable collection of over 34,000 digitized magazines and other monthly publications providing a window on to pre-internet information and culture. Hosted by the Internet Archive. 
Warning!  - some titles are  NSFW  and most certainly unsuitable for children or a young audience.

Punch a long-running 19th and 20th century British magazine known for its humour, satire, and cartoons, this archive has copies of  of the magazine from 1841-1922. A great source of wonderful cartoons and historic advertising copy.

Brochures Catalogues

Catalogues The Internet Archive’s catalogue collection includes, Lego, Argos, modern homes, department stores, cars, clothing and more…

Bauhaus Monskop recently digitised by Bibliotheque Kandinsky this is a collection of rare high quality and seminal art books and texts by Piet Mondrian, Walter Gropius, Paul Klee, and other leading Bauhaus artists. Available as pdf downloads and cited as 'for fair use only' - but added here for reference (Art & Design).

Grace's Guide to British Industrial History is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 146,030 pages of information and 231,556 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them. All text is CC BY SA and images are covered by this copyright statement.

IKEA Catalogues all the IKEA catalogues from 1950 onwards. A great resource for students of design and culture. View online or download as pdfs.