(The following is a guest post written by Helena Zinkham, chief of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)
Join us for a “photo countdown” to January 16, which marks the 8th anniversary of the Flickr Commons. The theme is bridges, because the Commons has grown to connect historical and contemporary photographs from more than 100 different archives, libraries and museums.
The Library of Congress joined with Flickr to launch The Commons back in 2008, and the original invitation stands: “Please help make the photographs you enjoy more discoverable by adding tags and leaving comments. Your contributions and knowledge make these photos even richer.”
When we posted the Tower Bridges photo to Flickr this week, people quickly added dozens of subject tags to make it easier to find the image. In the comments, a detailed account of the bridge’s operation and a view of the surviving rolling lift mechanism as public art enriched the story.
Most weeks, we post old news photographs that have incomplete and even erroneous titles. The steady addition of informative comments remains much appreciated, and we have folded almost 9,000 updated photo captions back into our own online catalog. The rapid deciphering of “Mystery Photos” that had no title at all is also very impressive!
Would you like to celebrate with us and explore the infinite possibilities of the Commons? All you need to do is visit The Commons and enjoy looking at the pictures and reading the stories. And, if you have a Flickr account, pick your eight favorite photos and tag them “Happy Birthday Flickr Commons.” Make a gallery of bridge photos and share the link through a comment. After all, “The key goal of The Commons is to share hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives.”