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.
One of the main goals of putting these images on Flickr is not just to share them, but to encourage people to add tags and comments to help develop better descriptive information and to encourage discussion.
Many libraries and other cultural organizations have used Flickr as a way to share historical images and encourage discussion, but this pilot project may mean libraries will someday be able to have their digital collections appear in Flickr through batch-loading or harvesting, rather than uploading them individually. It’s interesting to see the Library of Congress move into the Web 2.0, social conversation age and encourage commenting and discussion, and it will be interesting to see how this develops.
- The Commons
- Many Hands Make Light Work — Announcement on Flickr’s blog
- My Friend Flickr: A Match Made in Photo Heaven — Announcement on the Library of Congress blog