Flickr for Special Collections

Need to find a way to show off your special collections?  Want researchers from your institution as well as around the world to utilize your photos and artifacts?  Flickr is a great tool for doing this.  Flickr is a social image sharing website that allows you to show off photos and images to a much wider audience than simply putting your materials on your special collection website.

Flickr works like this:

  • Set up an account with a name related to the collection or institution.
  • Upload your images to that account
  • Organize your images in related collection sets
  • Tag your images with a variety of terms that help users locate your material.
  • Don’t forget about copyright!  Flickr allows you to attach a Creative Commons license to your work or to specify that all rights are reserved.
  • Watch your images’ tags and notes grow as people find and use your collection.

The Library of Congress is a great example of an institution that successful utilized Flickr for a special collection.  In January 2008, the Library of Congress started their Flickr debut with about 3,000 images.  After only 24 hours and a lot of publicity, their collection had a total of 1.1 million views! (See: For the Common Good: The Library of Congress Flickr Pilot Project) The Library of Congress encourages viewers to add tags and make notes on the images, therefore making their collection and its organization a social project.  Some other institutions utilizing Flickr for their special collections include: