(Guest post by Michelle Springer, Library of Congress Office of Strategic Initiatives)
Jan. 16 is the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Library’s account on Flickr, the photosharing website. We started with approximately 3,100 photos in our account; today 30 additional archives, libraries, and museums from the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, and Sweden now contribute images with no known copyright restrictions to the “Commons” on Flickr.
The Commons loudly invited people to “help describe the world’s public photo collections,” which in turn inspired a spontaneous “Friends group” and website called Indicommons, where supporters write about interesting images, curate thematic selections, set up interactive games, and create new applications.
As of today, there have been more than 23 million views of the images and more than 27,700 Flickr community members call us a contact. In two years, we have loaded more than 8,000 images in two collections (historic photographs and historic newspapers) in 11 sets on diverse topics—baseball, women’s rights, and Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. Over a thousand records in the Prints and Photographs online catalog have been enhanced with information from the Flickr Commons community. More accurate and detailed information in our catalog, with links to interesting histories, makes the pictures not only easier to find but easier to understand. The interactions with our photos are remarkably varied-ranging from the practical (corrected spellings and dates) to the imaginative. Energy for volunteering information continues to run high.
Just in time for the birthday, there’s a new Library of Congress set on Flickr, titled “Great Comments, THANK YOU!” It points to images that generated a variety of interesting comments.
We look forward to the coming year and making more connections!