Flickr is a free photosharing site. It allows you to create a profile and upload photos to a format that makes them easy to share with friends, family and the general public. Flickr makes it easy to get started. In addition to step by step instructions when creating a profile, it also provides a tour of the site that explains all of its features. Aside from uploading photos, you can comment on other users’ uploads or mark images that are especially interesting to you as favorites, allowing you to easily return. Flickr also lets you add people to photos to easily alert other users who may like that image. One feature that I found interesting was the guest list. This feature allows access to images that you choose for people who do not have a Flickr account. On that note, it also contains privacy settings that limit who can see photos on an individual basis.

Two features that I thought were especially useful were the map and linking. Flickr allows you to upload collections of photos from your account to a separate website. This feature is helpful for institutional accounts because they can connect the photos on Flickr to their main webpage. It also could be used by bloggers to share Flickr collections through that medium. The map feature allows you to attach photos to a specific location. Again, this type of technology could be utilized by historical institutions to teach about events or themes through photos.

The search feature is a great way to explore the Flickr world. When searching it brings up photographs tagged with that term as well as groups, individual photographers and places associated.Flickr also allows you to comment on photos. One piece of this feature that was interesting was that you can comment directly on a photo.

The Flickr Commons is the most obvious historical aspect of this site. The Commons provides users the opportunity to help describe photo collections from various institutions across the globe, such as NASA, The National Archives, the New York Public Library, and Smithsonian. Users can add tags and comments to any of the photos available in The Commons.

Flickr also allows you to organize photos into sets and collections, as well as create groups to aggregate photos with a common theme. Some examples of historically minded groups are

2 Replies to “Flickr”

  1. Nice post. You did a nice job describing the core functionality of Flickr. I would be interested in what you think about using something like Flickr for a digital history project. On the one hand, using Flickr is easy, you can just start uploading photos and mapping them. Further, your photos are instantly part of this massive pool of Flickr photos. At the same time though, your project and organization lose a bit of their identity by being part of that pool. Further, you are largely at the whim of Flickr, and it’s parent company, Yahoo, in terms of providing your resources.

    How would you weigh out these different trade offs? Beyond that, are there other trade offs that we should be thinking about? What are the primary pluses and minuses for this particular platform? When do you think it is the right tool for the job and when would you suggest that someone look elsewhere? Just some food for thought.

  2. I think one of the most interesting things about Flickr is how deeply the notion of Creative Commons is integrated into the site despite its corporate ownership under the Yahoo umbrella. Allowing any combination of the various usage concepts, each identified by a helpful icon system, the site gives users more control over their own intellectual property than other popular sites where you can upload your photos. As a result, millions of photos have been made available for public use. Facebook, of course, is the obvious counterexample. Under its policy [“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”], your participation automatically grants them the right to use your photos and videos however they want unless you keep them private or you delete your content, but only if can get everyone you shared it with to delete it as well. The ability to exact finite control over usage of photos posted to your Flickr account seems to make it a strong option for historical projects, whether personal or institutional. Enforcement, however, is more of an unanswered question as we cannot all be like the entertainment monoliths spidering the web for infringement upon our content.

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