Another Happy Anniversary Toast to the Flickr Commons!

New York, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Di Costanzo at the bar of their restaurant on Mulberry Street on New Year's Eve. Photo by Marjory Collins, December 1942. //

New York, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Di Costanzo at the bar of their restaurant on Mulberry Street on New Year’s Eve. Photo by Marjory Collins, December 1942. // View in Flickr

Nine years ago this month, the Library of Congress, after much planning and discussion, loaded photos for the first time to Flickr and began an extended, gratifying exchange with picture lovers all over the world.

That first upload put the Library’s pictures in front of a community whose members enjoy looking closely, appreciating fully, and filling in gaps in knowledge about pictures and what they depict.

Take, for example, the photo at the right, which we shared in honor of New Year’s a few weeks ago. Many Flickr members expressed their appreciation by awarding it a star, making it one of their personal favorites, and some added words of praise. But a few Flickr members did even more than that. They looked closely enough to notice the man in uniform in the mirror behind the smiling couple. And one of our dedicated contributors, Pixel Wrangler, looked at related photos on our Web site to determine whether the uniform was that of a bus driver or policeman.  Then he expanded the search, using U.S. Census record to identify members of the family depicted in the series of photos showing the family’s New Year’s Eve celebration at their restaurant in Little Italy. From one picture, Flickr members helped us all see more deeply and understand more fully the moment the camera had captured and how it fits into a larger experience. We are so grateful.

Our first load to Flickr nine years ago also extended exchanges about photos in another way, because it  launched The Commons, where institutions from all over the world now share photos, enabling us to see a huge variety of pictures and also to detect relationships among them. Inspired by our New Year’s photo, I did a search across The Commons contributions for pictures relating to New Year, and reveled in the dancing, the costumes, the animals, as well as the toasts.

So, as we begin our tenth year of The Commons, we celebrate with this photo of an unconventional birthday celebration: a 10 candle cake for kittens–9 lives and 1 to grow on!

The birthday cake. Photo by Harry Whittier Frees, copyrighted 1914. //

The birthday cake. Photo by Harry Whittier Frees, copyrighted 1914. // View in Flickr

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  1. Betsy Parker
    January 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Congratulations! It has been a fantastic success in outreach in both directions.

  2. michael Harris
    January 20, 2017 at 7:24 pm


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