The New York Public Library has 694,125 items digitised in its collection, and some of them were bound to look like emoji.
So Lauren Lampasone, a digital producer at the library, made a Twitter bot that matches the archive’s old images to emojis. If you tweet an emoji to it, it will tweet back a picture that looks like that emoji. She told Quartz that she created it to highlight the library’s collection.
It works remarkably well, and the matches are clever. Send it a film camera emoji, and it will send back an illustration with a film camera in the corner. Send it a screaming face, and it will send back a singer belting it out.
It’s possible to stump it. The bot doesn’t know what to do with flag emojis — it just shrugs and asks you to search around in its collections yourself.
All of the image-emoji matches are based on a giant database created by Lampasone and other NYPL employees. The Twitter bot’s code is on Github, where people can suggest archive images for emojis that don’t yet have a match.
There’s only one image per emoji, unfortunately, so you’ll get the same generated image every time for a specific emoji.
Still, it’s fun to use. Send it your favourite emoji and see what it tweets back.
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