It seems that traditional publications are now hopping more and more on Tumblr, and the newest addition is the venerable Grey Lady. The New York Times is going to be showing off a selection of images from their immense archive on a new Tumblr called The Lively Morgue. "The Morgue" is the paper's nickname for their photo archive, and here's an idea of how huge it is:
Our best guess is five million to six million prints and contact sheets (each sheet, of course, representing many discrete images) and 300,000 sacks of negatives, ranging in format size from 35 millimeter to 5 by 7 inches — at least 10 million frames in all. The picture archive also includes 13,500 DVDs, each storing about 4.7 gigabytes worth of imagery. When the Museum of Modern Art set out to exhibit the highlights of the Times archive in 1996, it dispatched four curators. They spent nine months poring over 3,000 subjects, working with two Times editors, one of whom spent a year on the project. In the end, they estimated that they’d seen only one-quarter of the total.
A couple of times a week, the Tumblr will be updated with new images from the archives. Some of them will be available to purchase as prints, and some will have more background via the NYT's Lens Blog.
The New York Times have gone above and beyond by not only scanning the image itself, but also the backs of the pictures, too. If you have any interest in the history of publishing or photography, it's intriguing to be able to see the notes, captions, credits and more that have been scrawled on the back over the years.