I did a presentation on this topic at the Massachusetts Library Association conference in Falmouth this morning, and posted the PowerPoint on Slideshare:
More and more newspapers and magazines are making deep archives freely available on the web, dropping requirements for print subscriptions and registration, making it easy to find the full-text of many well-known and respected publications available online. Richard Pérez-Peña wrote an interesting article called Dusting Off the Archives for the Web for the New York Times, saying:
“As magazines and newspapers hunt for the new thing they need to be to thrive in the Internet era, some find that part of the answer lies in the old thing they used to be…For magazines and newspapers with long histories, especially, old material can be reborn on the Web as an inexpensive way to attract readers, advertisers and money.”
Yesterday’s Brainiac column in the Boston Globe, “Everyone’s a historian now,” is about the Library of Congress images on Flickr. Columnist Joshua Glenn admits that asking the crowd to provide identification and information about these pictures makes him nervous, but notes that “so far, so good” and he gives examples of information already provided by Flickr members. “Crowdsourced history — maybe there’s something to it, after all.”
The Library of Congress collections on Flickr have gotten a lot of attention and activity since its launch on January 16. Flickr reported on their blog that in the first twenty-four hours after the launch, users added about 19,000 tags and just over 500 comments. The Library of Congress reported on their blog that all 3,100 + photographs had been viewed, with over 650,000 photo views in total as of the evening of January 17.
The Library of Congress and Flickr have a new pilot project called The Commons. Photographs from two of the American Memory collections, 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s, a total of over 3,000 images.
The first set consists of photographs taken for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 and focus on rural areas and farm labor, and World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working, and these records have some descriptive and subject information that’s been carried over to Flickr. The other collection, New in the 1910s, are news photographs from the Bain News Service, taken in about 1910-1912, and there’s minimal information for these.
CardCow.com sells vintage postcards and collectibles, worth checking out if you’re interested in adding to your library’s postcard collection. But even if you don’t plan to buy anything, this can be a very interesting site, useful for reference and worth sharing with your users. They have a lot of postcards for sale, but even after a card is sold, the image and listing stay on the website as a resource, and they have built up quite an impressive collection of images. You can browse by category, or search the listings. The cataloging isn’t perfect — there are currently eight cards listed for Magnolia and five for Mangolia — but you can usually find what you’re looking for one way or another. They list the date if a card has a postmark, and include images of the backs of the postcards, which is a nice touch.