Library of Congress Releases Report on Flickr Pilot

Illinois Central R.R., freight cars in South Water Street freight terminal, Chicago, Ill. (LOC)

Library of Congress Blog ? Library Releases Report on Flickr Pilot (Library of Congress)

The Library of Congress today released a report (full report here, summary report here) on their observations on a pilot program that they’ve had in place posting photos to Flickr over the course of the past nine months. The image above is one of the images from their photostream.

From the Library of Congress Blog:

“Only nine months into the Library of Congress’ pilot project placing Library photos on the Web site Flickr, the photos have drawn more than 10 million views, 7,166 comments and more than 67,000 tags, according to a new report from the project team overseeing the lively project.

“The popularity and impact of the pilot have been remarkable,” said Michelle Springer, project manager for digital initiatives in the Office of Strategic Initiatives, who said total views reached 10 million in October. The site is averaging 500,000 views a month, she said, adding that Flickr members have marked 79 percent of the photos as “favorites.”

The report recommends that the Library of Congress continue to participate in The Commons and explore other Web 2.0 communities.”

The Library of Congress’ photostream is part of a broader effort on Flickr to develop a Commons section (called The Commons) where cultural institutions can upload photos from their archives. At present 16 different institutions are participating. Ironically, Yahoo laid off one of the primary employees working on this project, George Oates, yesterday.

Adelie penguins after a blizzard at Cape Denison / photograph by Frank Hurley

As the best organized large collection of photographs in the world, Flickr is a fantastic place for this work to be taking place. The collaboration of Flickr users adding data and information to historically significant photographs will have deep significance years ahead. This effort is valuable for research purposes and opens up many images that never might have been seen. It is actually one of the most significant and important things going on at Flickr at present.

To see some of the most popular images associated with this new effort click through this link which sorts the photos uploaded to The Commons thus far by Flickr’s interestingness algorithm.

Update: Robert Scoble has a video interview he did with Helena Zinkham, who runs the prints and photography division of USA’s Library of Congress here.

3 Replies to “Library of Congress Releases Report on Flickr Pilot”

  1. They only have about 50,000 images on Flickr. The library has millions of images in the collection. Heck, they have about 100,000 3D images that you need glasses to look at. They are amazing, too.

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