The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.
It’s a remarkable achievement for any social media program to still be going strong after ten years. But the most important part of the Flickr Commons is the opportunity to talk about pictures without the barriers of time and place. A fantastic community of people who enjoy looking at old pictures has developed through the comments they exchange online. That communication can be as simple as flagging favorite photos, and a display of top favorites appears in a Flickr album and is also being featured on the Library of Congress home page this month.
Thank you for a rich and growing experience! You inspire the Prints & Photographs Division staff to keep diving deeper into our collections to share the pictures we love. Your subject expertise and impressive research skills also provide much-needed help to identify the many fascinating images that arrived at the Library with only one or two words of description.
New followers and history detectives are always welcome to take part in the Library’s Flickr photostream.
The albums selected above illustrate how successful “crowdsourcing” has been in adding descriptive information. You’ve sent us views of how places appear today, for “then and now” comparisons of changing landscapes and cityscapes. You’ve provided dates for jazz performances. You’ve even identified photos that had no captions at all! More than 12,000 pictures now have improved, corrected, and expanded descriptions. Please join us as 50 new photos flow out each week needing detectives to enrich the descriptions.
In 2008 George Oates at Flickr created the Flickr Commons with the Library of Congress and an ambitious vision: “Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.” Now you have a chance to see images from 115 institutions all over the world—check them out! For example, in the National Library of Ireland’s photostream, delightful conversations develop as a group pieces together the story for each photograph.
The following is an interview with Kit Arrington, Digital Library Specialist in the Prints and Photographs Division, about a project to scan the entire Popular Graphic Arts collection, for which she served as project manager. About a month ago I had a conversation with Senior Cataloger Woody Woodis about his work on the same project. […]
I can never resist a demonstration that the subjects of photos sometimes undermine the efforts of even the most professional photographers. The original caption for this photograph emphasizes charity, but the expressions on the two young boys’ faces suggest that they were feeling anything but charitable towards the photographer. The photo is one of thousands […]
The following is the third in a series of guest posts by Micah Messenheimer, Assistant Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division, that discuss the parallel development of two technologies in the 19th century: railroads and photography. The catalysts for a transcontinental railroad lie in the increasing industrialization of the country and the rapid expansion […]
The following is a guest post by Martha H. Kennedy, Curator of Popular & Applied Graphic Arts, Prints and Photographs Division. The recently opened exhibition “Drawn to Purpose” features more than 30 works by North American women illustrators and cartoonists, spans the late 1800s to the present and includes Golden Age illustration, early comics, magazine […]
Settle in for a good strong cuppa because December 15 is International Tea Day! Tea drinking began thousands of years ago in China and made its way west to Europe through Dutch trade in the sixteenth century. By the nineteenth century, the East India Company had a monopoly on the tea trade between China and […]
The following is a guest post by Jan Grenci, Reference Specialist for Posters, Prints and Photographs Division. Winter is one of my favorite seasons, what with the snow, and the cookies, and the caroling. There are a number of posters in the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division that illustrate some of the things […]
I did more than a double take when I saw the photograph below while searching in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog – I did a triple and maybe even a quadruple take! Once I convinced my brain of what I was seeing, I knew mirror images would be the theme of this installment of […]
The following is an interview with Woody Woodis, Senior Cataloger in the Prints and Photographs Division, about discovering and cataloging a woven “print” memorializing Joseph-Marie Jacquard, inventor of the programmable Jacquard loom. Melissa: What can you tell us about this woven “print” depicting inventor-weaver Joseph-Marie Jacquard? Woody: During his lifetime Jacquard developed a loom attachment […]
The following is the second in a series of guest posts by Micah Messenheimer, Assistant Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division that discuss the parallel development of two technologies in the 19th century: railroads and photography. Picking up the story after John Plumbe’s successes as a daguerreotypist and his disappointments in plans for a […]