Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Commons: The Library of Congress Pilot Project

The Library of Congress has partnered with Flickr to make photos available to the public for comment and description. The Commons is the name of the area where the photos will be stored. Over 3000 photos are currently available for tagging.

According to the website, “the key goals of this pilot project are to firstly give users a taste of the hidden treasures in the huge Library of Congress collection, and secondly to show how your input of a tag or two can make the collection even richer.” Currently two collections of photos are available: 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s.

Initially, I think that this is a brilliant idea. As the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.” By making the photos available to Flickr users, the Library of Congress may gain valuable information about the collections for the benefit of researchers. However, I’m curious about how Flickr and the Library of Congress are going to prevent improper or erroneous tags. As we all know, the Internet is full of information; unfortunately, not all of it is reliable. I suspect that the Library of Congress is still going to have a fairly big job of verifying any tagging before it can make it an official part of the collection.

With that said, go forth and enjoy the pictures, and tag with discretion.

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