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Batter Up! America's Library & Baseball Images
America's library brings you America's favorite pastime, with a recent pilot project between the Library of Congress and Flickr, the popular photo-sharing site that this year launched The Commons on Flickr.
From the Library of Congress' Prints & Photographs Division 14 million item photo collection, 3,000 images with no known copyright restrictions were chosen from their 2 most popular collections and digitized & added to Flickr. Images from this pilot project range from 1910 Baines News Service items to the 1940s, and include a rich baseball collection with Cleveland images. (On the Library of Congress' Flickr account, search baseball in the upper right search box.)
At a library conference in California this month, George Oates from Flickr talked about the pilot project & how the Library of Congress wanted to increase access to their public collections and to provide a way for the general public to contribute to knowledge. She reminded attendees that Flickr's community actions "can gather context and bring it back to the catalog" saying that "librarians have a long history of asking patrons" and that Flickr tags can add context to the knowledge that is already present in catalogs.
Only a single "tag" (Library of Congress) was added to each photo, and Oates and LOC staff were interested in how the community would react—and contribute. She showed time-stamped screenshots:
- in the 1st hour, the primary tag display was still "Library of Congress"...
- within 24 hours, 11,000 tags had been added...
- within 48 hours, 20,000 tags had been added
"Tags & comments increase the scale of feedback a library can get," said Oates, and LOC staff increased access & service due to an early tag when LOC staffers were able to reply to a comment with "we also have a film on that." Read more about "My Friend Flickr: A Match Made in Photo Heaven," on the Library of Congress' blog.
Oates said that Flickr's next image projects are a current one with the Powerhouse Museum in Syndey, Australia and "we're also talking with the New York Public Library, and with Brewster Kale (The Internet Archive)."
Posted by Karen Oye on April 15, 2008 05:50 PM