CHICAGO -- Playboy has launched an official online archive tapping into more than 50 years of its publishing history.

The initial digital library only features a random assortment of digital issues ranging from 1964-2007, according to the company. To view the issues, one needs to download the Microsoft program Silverlight. Viewing is free.

The move is certainly an answer to often low-quality, unauthorized scans of Playboy that can still be found all over the Web.

A collaboration between Playboy magazine and Bondi Digital Publishing, the site went live for public beta viewing on Wednesday.

Readers and fans will be able to go online and instantly browse, search and read digital back issues of the magazine, many of which are now highly sought-after collectors' items.

"Playboy has an incredibly rich history and an intensely loyal readership," said Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner. "This is the perfect opportunity to offer them something they have always wanted and also a great way to allow a whole new generation to easily explore the magazine."

Bondi Digital Publishing, the software pioneers that developed the platform for The Complete New Yorker, scanned and re-typed each issue.

View the first offerings at PlayboyArchive.com. And don't forget to read the articles and interviews, too.