wasting bandwidth since 1999

Building a Library Community

Last January, the Library of Congress took a very small part of their collection of photographs and put them on flickr, kicking off The Commons section of the online image sharing site.

We were essentially conducting an experiment to see how crowdsourcing might enhance the quality of the information we are able to provide about our collections, while also finding innovative ways to get those collections out to people who might have an avid interest in them.

So, was the experiment successful?

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.”

Encouraging visitors to add comments has resulted in some very rich histories being written about some pictures, including information the curators at the Library never had.

Administrators at the Library are so pleased with the response from this toe-in-the-water trial that they are now looking for new web 2.0 communities to share more of their materials.

How about pulling some of that video out of the vaults and creating a Library channel on YouTube?

[Thanks to John for the link]

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I hadn’t heard about these pictures being posted. I will need to spend some time checkign them out.

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