Last week we celebrated eight years of sharing Library of Congress pictures on the photosharing site, Flickr, by posting there one spectacular bridge photo each day for eight days.
Why bridges? Because, when we began sharing photos in Flickr back in 2008, the Library of Congress also joined with Flickr to launch The Commons, which has grown to connect historical and contemporary photographs from more than 100 different archives, libraries and museums all over the world.
Far-flung though our institutions may be, I had only to look next door to find out just what an impact that initial experiment had. Our new curator of architecture, design and engineering, Mari Nakahara, upon hearing about the Flickr Commons anniversary, noted that she has been a fan of the project for many years:
When the Flickr Commons project was implemented, I was learning about Web 2.0 while working towards a Master of Library of Science. I picked the Flickr Commons as my school project, read through the reports, and frequently looked at the site. I found it a powerful tool for people to participate in sharing their knowledge internationally. Since then, I have been broadly introducing Flickr Commons to people, especially those in the academic field in Japan, my country of origin.
Sharing Library of Congress photos with the international community on Flickr has enabled us to benefit from local knowledge about places and events depicted in photographs from many collections, including our Photochrom Travel Views, the Russian Empire in Color, and News in the 1910s.
Participating in the Flickr Commons has given us the added pleasure of seeing the connections among pictures housed in widely dispersed collections. Flickr members helped point out particularly close relationships between our collections and those of the National Library of Ireland. When we posted the photochrom image below on the left, Flickr members pointed out the corresponding negative at the right in the National Library of Ireland’s Flickr account.
And when the National Library of Ireland posted the photo below at the left, a Flickr member spotted a photochrom based on it in our collections (below right).
Another eagle-eyed Flickr member spotted parallel views of a street in Christinia, Norway among the Library of Congress photochroms and a later postcard view from the Nasjonalbiblioteket (National Library of Norway).
In honor of the Flickr Commons anniversary, we invited Flickr members to tag eight Commons favorites with “Happy Birthday Flickr Commons,” and to make galleries of images they have enjoyed. I couldn’t resist embarking on a personal anniversary odyssey, surveying photographs of bridges in other Flickr Commons institutions. I’m holding myself down to highlighting two that caught my eye–okay, three:
I just loved the shape of this one:This one reminded me how much can lie below a bridge–don’t look down!
And this one prompted me to ponder the historic events that have taken place on bridges the world over.
Bridging the photo collections in The Commons has helped us make new friends, exchange information, and build knowledge across oceans and continents. On to year nine!
- View the great variety of Flickr Commons pictures Flickr members tagged with “Happy Birthday Flickr Commons.”
- Enjoy the galleries faithful Flickr members curated:
- Explore our “Happy Birthday Flickr Commons” bridge selections (and see if you spot a “one to grow on” addition as we begin our ninth year!)
- Read Flickr’s blog post about the 8th anniversary as well as a Library of Congress blog post as we launched the celebration.
- Learn about our Flickr project and about The Commons.