Project Gado, Getty Images partner to offer Afro-American archive [VIDEO] - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Sep. 20, 2013 8:35 am

Project Gado, Getty Images partner to offer Afro-American archive [VIDEO]

Thanks to the Gado robot, rare photographs of some of black America's most historic figures, including Jackie Robinson, Louis Armstrong and Joe Louis, are now preserved digitally.

Thomas Smith (far right) introduces archivist Manny Escamilla (far left) to the Gado robot at Santa Ana Public Library in California.

When in use, the Gado robot automatically scans and saves a photograph every 42 seconds. That type of speed has enabled the Baltimore branch of the Afro-American newspaper to digitize more than 120,000 photographs from the paper’s million-plus photo archive.

Now a new partnership between Getty Images and Project Gado has made those Afro archive photos available for licensing on Getty.

“The historic photos digitized by Gado lend valuable perspective and context to our world today, and we are delighted to make them available for license so a wide audience can access them,” said Matthew Butson, VP, Archive at Getty Images.

That much is true. Thanks to the Gado robot, rare photographs of some of America’s most historic figures, including Jackie Robinson, Louis Armstrong and Joe Louis, are now preserved digitally, making them easy for people to access and use.

In addition, the Project Gado team responsible for assisting with such archiving and digitization projects worldwide now have a means of generating revenue independently. Revenue made from the licensing of Afro-American photos digitized by the Gado robot will be split among Getty, the Afro and Project Gado, which recently opened its Silicon Valley office.

If licensing photographs through Getty proves a big enough boon, Project Gado, and the libraries and archives that invest $500 to purchase a Gado robot, won’t have to depend as much as it has on grants from foundations to sustain digitization projects.

As Technically Baltimore has reported, the Gado robot is the creation of Thomas Smith, graduate of the Johns Hopkins University who assisted the Afro-American in setting up its digitization project with the Gado robot in late 2011. Since then, images Project Gado has digitized have been available via GadoImages.com, but the Getty partnership will increase the audience of people viewing and using these photos, according to the Project Gado team.

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Watch a scanning demo of the Gado 2 robot:

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist outside Washington, D.C. He's written for Wired, Backchannel, Popular Science, Fortune, the Washington Post Magazine, the Atlantic and elsewhere.

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