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.
At this point, some of the photographs have thousands of views — the one seen here, for example, has over 5,700 views, and has been marked as a favorite by over fifty Flickr members.
It’s great to see all these images on Flickr and the attention that this is getting. But it’s also good to remember that old is not new on Flickr. There are many libraries and other organizations that have made a lot of their historical photographs available on Flickr, and used this as a way to reach out to their communities and encourage discussion. Most also link back to their websites and provide information about other ways to access their historical images.
And thousands of individual Flickr users have contributed their own old photographs, often providing rich personal descriptions. There are many different Flickr groups where old photographs are shared and discussed, along with vintage postcards, sheet music, etc., all of which made Flickr a really amazing resource for historical images even before the Library of Congress decided to participate.
On The Commons page describing this project, Flickr asks that libraries, museums and other organizations who are interested in participating send a message to o flickr-commons @ yahoo-inc.com. It’s not really clear to me what benefit this has beyond what people are already doing, other than perhaps being listed on The Commons page, but I think any library who already is making their historical images available through Flickr or who is interested in doing so should send them a message.