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Many libraries use Flickr to find photographs to add color and visual interest to their blogs and websites. It’s an incredible resource, but one that you have to use with care. You need to check images to make sure any image you want to use has a Creative Commons license, figure out the correct code to link to the photograph on Flickr, and provide credit to the photographer.
ImageCodr is a tool that makes it easy to check the license and get the correct code to link to any size of an image on Flickr, complete with a Creative Commons license and credit link. You just paste in the URL for any Flickr photopage, and get the license information, and an option to preview any available size and generate the code you need for your page. Here’s a sample of what that page looks like:
The image below was added to this blog post using ImageCodr. The image will inherit borders, fonts, etc., from your site’s stylesheet, and will probably look just fine as-is. However, if there’s something you don’t like, you can adjust the stylesheet and add a class to the div that encloses the code.
The site does add a link to the ImageCodr site, at the end of the photographer’s credit line. You can find it in the example below by hovering over the the space at the end of my name. This is either a subtle or awkward way to provide a linkback to the ImageCodr site.
Does your library use Flickr as a way to share their photographs with the public? If so, you probably link to your library’s Flickr photostream and you may be using Flickr badges and individual photos on your blogs and website that link back to Flickr.
But how findable are your library pictures to someone searching on Flickr?
To test this, log out of Flickr, go to their main page (http://www.flickr.com) and try searching for your library. Try all the different ways people are likely to search. For example, if you’re the Smithers Library in Goodtown, Massachusetts, try these searches, and see if you find your library’s pictures on the first page of the search results :
- smithers library goodtown
- goodtown mass public library
- library goodtown ma
- smithers library massachusetts
For example, if you’re the Melvil Dewey Library at Harvnell College, try these searches, and see if you find your library’s pictures on the first page of the search results :
- harvnell college library
- harvnell dewey library
- melvil dewey library
- MDL harvnell
If your photographs aren’t coming to the top of the search results, check their titles, descriptions and tags. The more information that you add, the more findable your pictures will be. Titles, descriptions and tags are all searched, but tags are the most important.
Be sure that you are using the name of your library as a tag: “Goodtown Public Library”. (Put quotes around a phrase so it gets indexed as a single tag.) Adding the library name as a tag is important even though your Flickr account is probably in the name of the library, because the user name is not included in the regular index and is not found except in a People search.
You should also add the name of your community or school, and consider redundant tagging for state names: Massachusetts, Mass and Ma, for example — people may use any of these forms as search terms. In addition to the tags that you add to every picture, be sure to add other relevant tags to individual pictures, for example : puppets, crafts, Halloween, as well as the names of speakers and performers.
It’s also a good idea to add your library photographs to the Flickr map. You’ll find the Add to your map link on the right, in the Additional Information area. Just click on this, enter the address to find the location where the photograph was taken, and save the location.
Titles, descriptions, tags, map — these are the keys to making your pictures findable on Flickr. If you want to improve yours, you don’t need to edit them one at a time. Go to Organizr, select a batch of photos (or even all of them) and you can add tags to the group and add them all to the map at once.
It’s definitely worth making the effort to make sure your photographs are easy to find on Flick. After all, helping people find stuff is what we do best!
If you were designing a postage stamp for your library, what would it look like? What about historic buildings and other notable places within your community, wouldn’t it be fun to see them featured on postage stamps?
The United States Postal Service does allow you to put your photographs on real postage stamps through their Picture It Postage plan.
But it’s more fun and a lot cheaper just to play around with the idea of designing your own local postage stamps. There’s a free online tool called Framer that makes it easy to create stamp images from your photographs, complete with postmark. It can connect to your Flickr or Facebook account to get your pictures, or you can upload them from your computer.
This might be a fun photo-craft project for children or teens (anyone, really!) These faux stamps could be used as graphics for your library blog or website, or printed out and used as part of a display — could work with a travel display, or one on stamp collecting or perhaps on the lost art of letter-writing.
Illustrated Newspaper Supplements — The Library of Congress has added a great new set to their Flickr Commons account: cover pages from the New York Tribune illustrated supplements, beginning with the year 1909. These images are from the Chronicling America website, and each image on Flickr has a link to the image page on that site where you can use image-zooming tools or download a PDF.
These large illustrated covers provide an interesting view of historic events and everyday life. The visual format looks surprisingly modern, and, like today’s graphic novels, these illustrated newspapers provided an alternative way to look at the world. In the words of the Library of Congress: “The heavily illustrated supplement sections became the most widely read sections of the papers and provided a great opportunity to attract new customers. The daily life, art, entertainment, politics, and world events displayed in their pages captured the imagination of a curious public.”
The images on Flickr are just a small sample of what readers will find on the Chronicling America site, which includes collections of newspapers from several states.
One of the images in the Flickr collection has a local history connection for our area — it describes President William Howard Taft’s selection of a Summer White House in Beverly, Massachusetts. This is the Stetson Cottage at the site that is now Lynch Park. This house has connections to two NOBLE communities — in 1910, Marie Evans, the owner of the property, cut the house in half and sent it by barge across the harbor to Marblehead.
Stetson Cottage on Woodbury Beach — Image in the NOBLE Digital Library
For my What’s New with What’s New presentation for the Boston Regional Library System:
Libraries on Flickr
- Beverly Public Library — Historical images, library programs, displays, more
- Lucius Beebe Memorial Library (Wakefield) Sets — Historic images, library programs, book displays, more
- A Book’s Journey at the Newton Free Library
- Lansing (IL) Public Library — Celebrity READ posters
- OWH Library: Phillips Academy, Andover — Teen Read Week Posters
- LibraryFlickrFaves — A collection of some of my favorite library photographs saved as bookmarks on Delicious.com.
Advice for Libraries on Flickr
- Read the Flickr Terms of Service, take the Tour, read the FAQ
- Make sure you understand privacy and copyright settings
- Be creative and have fun
- Capture everyday life at the library as well as the special events
- Step outside for some exterior shots of the building and grounds
- Include weather and seasonal pictures
- Add historic images to Flickr, even if they are also in another system
- Highlight every library service
- Include the whole staff, volunteers, trustees, etc. (but respect the camera-shy!)
- Have a plan and a policy for photo permissions, and respect the right to privacy
- Add information and links to your image descriptions, and use the map and tags to help make your pictures findable
- Add your images to Flickr groups, especially the local and regional groups
- Consider starting groups for the library and/or the community
- Use online toys and tools to enhance and transform your images (add frames, make posters, use special effects, etc.)
- Use Flickr badges to add rotating content to your library sites
- Link from your Flickr pages to your website, and from your library site to Flickr badges
- Keep an eye on your Flickr stats, and report them with other library statistics
Flickr as a Resource
- The Flickr Commons — The Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and several other museums and archives around the world are adding collections of images with no known copyright restrictions to Flickr, where members not only enjoy the images but help catalog them.
- Camera Information on Flickr — Flickr can be an interesting consumer resource. See what cameras Flickr members and using, and see examples of different kinds of pictures taken with each camera.
- Photographs for Your Website from Flickr — How to search for photographs that you can use without permission
Enhance and Extend
- Motivational Posters — Add words and borders to make your own motivational posters
- Palette Generator — Make a color palette from any photograph
- Spell with Flickr — Use Flickr photos to spell out a word or phrase
- Picnik — Easy online image editing
- Tagnautica — Visual search interface of related terms
- Multicolr — Search Flickr by color
Teacher Karen Bosch has an interesting post about how her students made their own National Park Trading Cards using the online Trading Card Maker. Looks like a nice project, a good way to teach the kids to gather and organize information into a concise, defined structure. The trading card format makes it easy to use them as flash cards to study and use to test each other, and they could also look good pinned up on a map or bulletin board.
This trading card toy could also work well for library projects. Students, staff or volunteers could make trading cards with photographs of various landmarks and historic places in the community. They could go out and take photographs of each site, or they could search online on Flickr and other sites for photographs. (Be sure to respect the photographers’ copyright and only use photographs with an appropriate license.) These trading cards could be printed out, or used on websites. The trading card at the left is an example of a card using a photograph of a historic house.
[See the Full Size Trading Card | See the Photograph on Flickr]