Historic Images Get Flickr Treatment

by | Jan 16, 2008


The Library of Congress has a new Flickr page, where they plan to share some 3000 images with no known copyright restrictions.

If all goes according to plan, the project will help address at least two major challenges: how to ensure better and better access to our collections, and how to ensure that we have the best possible information about those collections for the benefit of researchers and posterity.

In other words, the Library is seeking to enhance its metadata and is turning to the wisdom of the crowd for help.

The real magic comes when the power of the Flickr community takes over. We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves. For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured. If such information is collected via Flickr members, it can potentially enhance the quality of the bibliographic records for the images.

Flickr hopes this pilot can be used as a model that other cultural institutions will pick up, thereby increasing the sharing and redistribution of the myriad collections held by cultural heritage institutions all over the world.