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.
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 Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division. You can find libraries at the heart of many different communities, from the center of a town or a college campus to a shared toolbox at a construction site. The new book American Libraries, written by architectural historian Kenneth Breisch, takes […]
September 22 is World Car Free Day, an annual event when participants around the world set aside their car keys and find alternative methods for getting to work. This annual observance goes back to the 1970s, and gained more ground in the 1990s to coincide with the European Union’s “In Town Without My Car” campaign. […]
“Thousands of residents stood with necks craned and peered wide-eyed through smudged glass as the moon sped between the sun and earth, gradually shutting off the bright morning light. From President Coolidge to the urchins with bundles of papers under their arms, the city marvelled at the awesome but magnificent sight.” - The Washington Post, […]
The following is a guest post by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints, Prints & Photographs Division and Linda Stiber Morenus, Special Assistant to the Director of Scholarly & Educational Programs and longtime paper conservator. Known for his credo “Art for Art’s Sake,” American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) was a virtuoso etcher whose […]
Most of the United States will “spring forward” this weekend, as we enter Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. – which will immediately become 3:00 a.m. – Sunday morning. Many of us have never known a time when we didn’t go through the biannual ritual of springing forward an hour in the spring, and falling […]
I find one of the remarkable things about portraiture is the ability to observe individuals just like us in a time so different. A sparkle in the eyes or tilt of the head can feel so familiar. Whether it be the portrait of a family member or of someone with a common cultural heritage, the […]
Sometimes I come across a photo in our collections that just tickles me pink, but also makes me want to learn more. One such photo of two dancing dames alongside a congressman led me to pictures of the Charleston dance craze taking the nation’s capitol by storm and sent me digging deeper in the hopes […]
The love of reading crosses all boundaries, appealing to people of all ages, races, genders, and walks of life. For hundreds of years, readers have opened books to learn about history or science or to discover new, imaginary worlds. Books have furnished inspiration, excitement, and relaxation. The possibilities are limitless. Within our collections, I found […]