Flickr announced some revisions to their Community Guidelines today, the most important of which is to allow businesses, non-profits, and other organizations to have an account on Flickr. This is certainly good news for all the libraries who currently have Flickr accounts, who have really been operating outside of the terms, never a good idea. Flickr’s previous guidelines said that accounts were for individuals only, and specifically prohibiting organizational accounts. Flickr staff has always said that although an individual could set up an account and post their own photographs of their work with an organization, the account stayed with the person, not the organization. The only exception to this has been the Flickr Commons, a special program for museums and libraries sharing historical images.
Most libraries interested in sharing on Flickr have set up organizational accounts so it’s the library, not a specific individual, sharing the photographs, often unaware that this was contrary to the rules. An organizational account allows the library to post photographs taken by different staff members, and to have continuity through staff changes. The announcement notes that “There are many museums, charities, government offices and other organizations already using Flickr to share their stories with interested Flickr members around the world” and that the revisions “just bring the Community Guidelines up to date with how people are already using the site.”
Flickr has created a Best Practices page to help organizations get the most out of Flickr.
Here are my tips for getting the most from your Flickr account :
Setting Up Your Account
Take the time to become familiar with Flickr : Take the Tour, read the FAQ
Upgrade to Flickr Pro for unlimited uploading, access to your original photographs, and statistics
Be sure to add your logo or a photograph as the Buddy icon that identifies your account
Edit your Flickr profile page to include basic information about your library, links to the library website, etc.
Upload at least five public photographs as soon as you set up your account. Your account will then be reviewed by Flickr and marked as “Safe.” Until this happens, your images will be visible but not searchable. It usually takes a few days for Flickr to review accounts.
Managing Your Account
Plan for continuity — be sure that login and password information is recorded somewhere safe so the library won’t lose access to the account even if the staff member currently running the account leaves the library.
Backup your photographs! You should never trust Flickr or any service with the only copy of your library photographs. Be sure you have at least one other copy. Ideally, you should have two copies, perhaps one on a hard drive and one on CD or DVD, as well as the copies on Flickr.
Capture everyday life at the library as well as special events
Step outside for some exterior shots of the building and grounds, and include weather and seasonal pictures
Highlight every library service
Include the whole staff, volunteers, trustees, etc. (but respect the camera-shy!)
Have a plan and a policy for getting permission for taking pictures of patrons, especially children, and respect the right to privacy
Add historic images to Flickr, even if they are also in another archive
Add information and links to your image descriptions, and use the map and tags to help make your pictures findable
Sharing Your Photos
Use sets and collections to organize your photographs. These can be set up by time period, by department, by program, etc. The same photograph can be in more than one set.
Add your images to Flickr groups, especially the local and regional groups
Consider starting a Flickr group for your library or your community.
Use online toys and tools to enhance and transform your images (add frames, make posters, use special effects, etc.)
It’s January, and for much of the country that means snow! You may not like to shovel it or drive through it, but snow transforms the landscape, changes the appearance of our buildings, and can make for some beautiful photographs of our libraries!
So grab your camera, put on those mittens and get outside and take some photos of your library. Try for some interesting angles, near and far, including snowdrifts of snow, trees whose branches are delicately frosted in white or outdoor sculptures piled with snow, like this wonderful photograph of Pooh and Eeyore from the Newton Free Library.
trees whose branches are delicately frosted in white. If your library has a Flickr account, post them there, and be sure to add descriptive tags like snow and winter to make thenm findable. Add them to groups — not just library groups, but local and regional groups like North Shore, Massachusetts or New England. Use them to announce that you’re open despite a snowstorm, and to promote any special winter programs and activities.
Look around inside your library, too, for interesting snowy day photographs. Snowy views seen through the library windows? Wet mittens drying on the radiator in the Children’s Room? A snowman-themed craft program? Story hour children staggering in the door all bundled up in snowsuits?
And when you’re tired of the snow, remember the words of Frog’s father in Arnold Lobel’s wonderful Frog and Toad All Year:
“When I was small, not much bigger than a pollywog,” said Frog, “my father said to me, ‘Son, this is a cold, gray day but spring is just around the corner!”
WP Random Header — This simple plugin by Callum Macdonald automatically rotates the header images for the Twenty Ten theme. We’re using it on this site — reload to see it in action.
WP-Table Reloaded — Manages tables for your posts and pages, with lots of options like row striping and column sorting
Flickr Blog This to Draft — If you use Flickr’s BlogThing to send photos to your blog, the default behavior is to immediately publish the post. With this plugin, the posts will be draft so you can check formatting, add categories, etc., before publishing
Twenty Ten, the default theme for for WordPress 3, features a prominent header image. It comes with eight header images installed, photographs by Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress. (You can read more about these photographs on his blog: The Headers of Twenty Ten)
Here are a few ways that you can customize the header images for your site:
Change the Header
If you don’t want to use the default image, there’s an admin panel where you can select one of the others. Just go to Appearance –> Header and scroll down to Default images. Look at the thumbnails, and click to select the one you want. Continue reading →
The Print Friendly plugin adds a makes it easy for people to print a copies of your posts or pages, convert them into PDF, or to share them by e-mail or Twitter. It lets them save time and paper by removing the images or paragraphs that they don’t need.
It’s easy to set up — just upload the Print Friendly plugin and activate it! There’s a page of settings if you’d like a little more control over how this appears on your site: you can choose a text link or button style, decide whether you want it to appear above or below your content, and decide whether you want this to display on everywhere on your site (including on your main page) or just on the individual posts and pages. Continue reading →
Last February, Google purchased their first SuperBowl ad, the story of a romance told entirely in Google searches, starting with “study abroad paris france” and ending with “how to assemble a crib.” This inspired all sorts of parody videos, and a few months later Google introduced the Search Stories Video Creator, a simple tool that lets you create these videos very easily. You simple enter up to six searches into a form, choosing the type of search for each: Web, Image, Map, News, etc., choose background music from a menu, and you’re ready to preview your video, upload it to YouTube and share it.
Here’s a sample I made.
Admittedly, this is not much of a story, just a series of searches around a particular theme, but more creative librarians could have some fun with this. I have a couple of simple examples below. This could be a fun challenge for a group of kids or teens to try. It’s really easy and fast. The three videos I did here each took me between five and ten minutes to make. I did find that after you upload them to YouTube there can be a delay of several hours while these are being processed.
But what I really want is for all the library vendors to offer a simple tool like this to make it easy for us to make these search stories using our library catalogs, databases, ebook collections and more!