17 January 2008

Library of Congress joins Flickr

The Library of Congress has announced a joint venture with Flickr:
The project is beginning somewhat modestly, but we hope to learn a lot from it. Out of some 14 million prints, photographs and other visual materials at the Library of Congress, more than 3,000 photos from two of our most popular collections are being made available on our new Flickr page, to include only images for which no copyright restrictions are known to exist.

This should be a significant development for historians and others looking to illustrate papers, etc. with appropriate photos.
This is part of Flickr's 'Commons' project - which, among other things, allows Flickr users to add tags to the pictures: the effect of this is evident as far as one picture is concerned - it has more than 60 tags in at least three languages! Allowing anyone to tag means that either, a) this picture will pop up for a much wider range of search enquiries (for example, in a search for 'smoke' as well as for 'railway'); or, looked at from another perspective, too many pictures will be retrieved!

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