Monday, 21 June 2010

Thing 9 - Exploring Flickr

Welcome to Week 5, Thing 9!

Image gallery from FlickrCC

After completing Thing 9 you will have …

... explored Flickr, the world’s biggest image bank.

What is Flickr and how is it relevant to libraries?
Flickr is a photo sharing website that allows registered users to upload their pictures. Some are creative and beautiful works of art; others are, well, less so! But with around 5,000 images per minute being uploaded, through sheer mass of numbers you can find arresting and beautiful images, many of which are free for you to download, save, and reproduce with a creator attribution.

Step-by-step instructions for Thing 9

1. Go to and, without entering text into the search box, click on ‘Search’:

2. From here you can search for photographers or pictures, or click on ‘Advanced Search’ which offers even more search options.

If you do a 'photos' search Flickr searches the titles of photos and also the tags that have been added to them (see Thing 8 for more on tagging).

Try one or more of the following searches:
  • keyword 'books' or 'library'
  • one of your hobbies
  • a place you want to visit
  • your library
While you're there, have a look at the photostreams from local photographer Sir Cam, and from Idlethink, who has some lovely pictures of books in Cambridge libraries (don't let the title 'bookporn' put you off: there's no adult content!).

Libraries using Flickr

Many libraries, museums and archives have Flickr accounts through which they publicise aspects of their collections. Plymouth Libraries have been really creative in their use of Flickr to promote library events, while the National Library of Scotland has uploaded lots of images from its collections, many of which can be saved under Creative Commons (more about this in Thing 10). The Library of Congress even uploaded a set of 'mystery pictures' and asked Flickr users to help identify them - with amazing success!

Finally, a question to muse upon: Idlethink's pictures of the UL violated Library Syndicate rules, which forbid photography, but the resulting pictures are beautiful records of the building and its treasures. How would you feel if you came across similar pictures of your library?

Further reading:
Why should librarians care about Flickr? (Librarian in Black)
How to make Flickr work for your library (

Optional extra:
Try adding an RSS feed from a photographer or photostream you like to your iGoogle page or Google Reader. Just click on the orange RSS button and choose where you’d like to receive the photostream. You can see how this looks on my iGoogle page:

Next time ...
... you'll be doing more with images and looking at ways in which they can help promote your library service.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I hate to tell you guys this, but the link in this article may have been hacked a wee bit. My antivirus popped up saying the site had malicious threats on it and closed that window down. I don't know if that's happened to anyone else, but it may be worth checking out.

    Thanks for putting this project together, by the way!