Every now and again, we come across an online achievement so remarkable, that we just have to, er, remark on it. And this is such a case.

Kalev Leetaru is an American academic from Georgetown University in Washington DC, and at the flickr.com stream Internet Archive Book Images, he has embarked on an extraordinary journey through literary history.

But he's not interested in the myriad words that have been published. Oh, no. He's written a bit of software that digs out all the images from the books that have been digitised by the Internet Archive organisation.

That's hundreds of millions of pages. And subsequently, millions of images.  

All presented in one searchable database for the very first time.

This means that we can all now browse through an incredible archive of imagery and enjoy pictures that haven't seen the light of day in a generation, or even longer.

An extraordinary thing to behold, and a brilliant use of software to unearth a previously hidden treasure trove of visual history.

Bravo, sir.