W5-6 Flickr

Welcome to Week 6 of krl2pt0 — flickr

As we briefly discussed during library training day (for those of you who were still awake hee hee), Flickr is a website used for online photo sharing and storage. Wait a second, we’ve seen these types of sites since the early 1990’s- nothing new here right? Wrong. Flickr was among the first of its kind to usher in what you might call photography 2.0. This is a really ridiculous way to say that we can upload those digital photos, share them with friends, and finally, search, organize, and share with like-minded aficionados all over the world. Remember the Del.icio.us tutorial a few weeks back? Well, dust off that keyboard because we’ve got more tagging to do!

mom n' dadJust like del.icio.us, Flickr allows users to create communities and organize content through tags. As we learned, these tags can be as broad or as specific as you like. Take for example this picture that I just found and scanned in of my parents. (Sidenote: always remember to ask for permission when posting pictures you have either not taken, or taken of someone else. My parents were a little too excited about my sharing their younger, ahem, funkier selves.) I could tag in broad terms such as “1970s” or “family.” On the other hand, I could get more specific in order for this photo to fit within my already existing online collection with tags such as “Mom_pants” (a set of my mom’s arguably ill-fated pant sewing phase) or “Cody_Wyoming” where this was taken.

As I hope you’ve seen, Flickr is excellent for organizing and sharing family, vacation, and artistic photos, but how can we use this tool for the library? Well, dear Margaret, the possibilities are endless and we’ll see some great examples as we learn to navigate and explore through Flickr.

It’s those tags once again…..

Flickr has a multitude of options for easy browsing. Under the tab “Explore,” users are given the option of searching Flickr’s most popularly used Tags. There’s that tag cloud again…

flickr tags

Users are also able to explore by photos taken with specific camera models (i.e. Canon Rebel, Nikon 350, etc.), most recently uploaded photos, and my favorite new mode geotags (tags shown organized by location on a map of the world). So for example, here I can create a global map of photographed libraries that looks like this:

flickr map

Each pink circle represents how many library photographs are available from that
location. Keep in mind that this is the first of more than twenty available worldwide library maps. Librarians and their customers must like to flaunt their stacks!


Flickr also has almost endless ways to specify your searches and here is where
networking really comes into play. The drop-down menu next to the search tab allows users to search specific tags or titles in everyone’s photos, your contact’s photos, or your friend’s photos (users can make certain photos available to only friends and family).

flickr menu

You can also search within Flickr Groups, for Flickr members, or by location. I searched within groups for libraries and came up with over 2,000 options! Here’s the first few results:

flickr results

Public or Private?

As we are all well aware, social networking sites allow for free and open access to a multitude of users and types of information. This of course means that your photos (yep, especially the spicy ones) can and will be accessed by anyone. Thankfully, during the uploading process, Flickr allows users to select either private, public, or select viewing (available to friends and family) for each picture. So for example though I can create a nifty badge to insert into a website of the Port Orchard Teen Isle photos that I have permission to use (see below), the rest of the photos in that account are unavailable to anyone outside of the teens participating in that group and myself. Smart thinking huh?


For additional background information and tours of Flickr check out:

flickr tour
indezone tutorial
Wikipedia article on flickr
BBC article on flickr
Wired article about flickr

For advanced Flickr applications like mashups and Moo cards, go crazy with:

flickr help

Activities for Week 6:

Option 1: Head to Flickr.com and perform a search. Remember, you can head to the “explore” button to browse popular tags and photos presented on a world map. You can also search for specific photos in the drop down menu such as “saguaros” and “Houdini” tags or groups such as “teen libraries” or “rodeo clowns.” Find something interesting and blog about it!

Option 2: Head to Flickr.com and create a user account. Even if you don’t use a digital camera, you can ask for a picture CD to upload next time you order prints or scan in old family photos. Connect to friends and find a group! Write about your experience, likes, and dislikes in your blog.

Option 3: If you already have an account with another photo-sharing site, explore Flickr, then write a short comparison of the two sites in your blog.

Next Up: Week 7 — LibraryThing

2 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Is there a way to get a Flickr account without answering all those personal questions required by Yahoo?

    I don’t give out that kind of information on line…

    Please help.



  2. Hi Susan:

    I don’t believe Yahoo will let you create an account without name, gender and birthdate. If you don’t want to provide that, try either Slide.com or Picassa.

    Since Picassa is part of the Google family, you already have an account and won’t have to do anything except add Picassa to your Google services.

    Bob C.

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