By Amy Schindler
Photo sharing sites like Flickr, Photobucket, and Picasa allow you to upload and share your images with the public or selected friends or contacts. While each site is different, you can generally describe, tag, group, comment on others’ images, and use RSS feeds to alert you of new content from others.
If you’re using Blogger, images you upload to your blog are added to a private album on Picasa (one you may choose to make public). Some photo sharing tools will also allow users to edit their images within the application, while other tools including Snapfish and Shutterfly provide photo sharing as well as a services geared towards offering users photo products like photo books, mugs, t-shirts, and other items. Flickr and others also offer different options for ordering prints and other photo products.
You will find archives using photo sharing sites to share a variety of content. While naturally you expect to find historical photos from collections, there are also events at repositories, staff and collections behind-the-scenes, tutorials, efforts to document current places and events, objects and artifacts, as well as requests for more information about partially or unidentified photos.
- Sign up for a free account on Flickr. Find images from other archives and add a few comments or tags. Whether you’re new to Flickr or a regular user, it wouldn’t hurt to take a quick read through the Flickr Community Guidelines. Don’t forget the FAQs are always available to help you along as well.
- If you have digital images of your own available, upload a few adding a brief description and tags. Search Flickr’s groups for appropriate groups to upload your images to based on subject, geography, etc. There are also groups just for images from archives like ArchivesOnFlickr and Funny Photos from the Archives, so even if you’re not uploading images at this time spend some time exploring groups other archives are using.
- With a Flickr account you can create a gallery of images (your galleries may only include images taken by others, so even if you don’t have any images of your own uploaded you can give this a try) on a particular topic or just those you find interesting. Create a gallery around a topic of your choice.
- Put a Flickr badge on your blog to display the images you uploaded to your Flickr account.
- Explore Pro accounts and blog about the pros and cons for your archives. For example, once you reach 200 images in a free account, you either have to go to a Pro account or you start losing access to some of your images.
- What did you like and not like about Flickr?
- How do you think you would use a photo sharing site at your repository?
- Flickr Blog
- Flickr Help (including videos)
- EDUCAUSE article on “7 Things You Should Know About Flickr.”
- The Interactive Archivist article on “Photo Sharing Sites.”
- The Interactive Archivist case study on “Talking and Tagging: Using CONTENTdm and Flickr in the Oregon State University Archives,” by Tiah Edmunson-Morton.
- “Really Cool Ways to Browse Flickr (and Waste a Lot of Time),” NPR May 1, 2009.
- Library of Congress and Flickr:
- “For the Common Good” – the Library of Congress Report on its Flickr pilot;
- LC’s Prints & Photographs Reading Room website on Library of Congress Photos on Flickr; and
- “Library of Congress Looks for Help on Photo Labels,” Morning Edition (NPR), January 21, 2008.
- “Protest Puts Smithsonian Photos on Flickr Site,” All Things Considered (NPR), May 25, 2007.
Some Flickr photostreams to explore. Be sure to read their Profile to see what they are doing. Also note the different ways they have set up their sites, what kind of sets they have created, and whether they have a “Pro” account or not.