Friday, May 1, 2009

Getting Pictures Up on Flickr

I'm starting work this weekend in preparation for putting some of the Bovina history images I've collected over the past few years up on Flickr. I attended an archives conference last month in Charleston, WV and went to a presentation on how archival institutions are using Flickr. There are a number of institutions utilizing this as a way to get images out to the public. Flickr has the advantage of allowing people to comment on the image. The Library of Congress is doing this and what they are finding is that people often can provide more information about an image or point out that an image is mislabeled. I thought this would be a great way to be able to share with a lot more people all the images I've collected in my five years as town historian while getting some useful feedback, particularly for those mystery images I have.

As an archivist, I've known for some time that the actual scanning of the photos is the easy part. It's getting down all the information about the image (known as meta data) that takes time - who provided it, what the picture is about, when it was taken, size, etc. I'm in pretty good shape in that regard, but also needed when you put an image on Flickr are keywords or tags so that people can find an image on a particular topic. I'm starting by creating a thesaurus or keyword index so that the terms I use are consistent. I'll need to sort out some issues, though. Do I use the term "Bovina United Presbyterian Church" or can I say "Bovina U.P. Church?" I'll likely use the full name, but there will be other quandaries that I'll have to get sorted out. It's easier to do it before you put the images on the web.

When I actually have some images on-line, I'll let everyone know. I hope it will be sometime this month.

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