I’d browsed flickr before – in particular where archives and museums have posted content for comment/recognition/cataloguing – but not put anything up there myself. Identifying stolen material and reuniting it with its collection/owner is one usage – in sorry circumstances, but hopefully will do some good.
My own contribution to flickr is a few cute dogs in the snow (here’s an example) – I’m afraid I just don’t think my photos are interesting enough to share with people who don’t know me, and for obvious reasons I don’t want to post pictures of the other people who are the subjects of most of my photos. I’ve seen that although both facebook and flickr have a range of privacy settings on both sites thumbnail photos + contributor information can still be seen by others regardless of privacy settings – for example, by looking at the “fans” of a particular page or members of a group on the former, or using tag searches on the latter. If I was in a collections-based role at the moment I’d certainly be thinking about flickr at work though – see Deseronto Archives (again!) for a pioneering example.
The Commons is an interesting collection – having done some extensive digitisation projects myself previously with some potentially nightmarish copyright issues to resolve, it feels really brave to have the range of small print covered by the headline statement “No known copyright restrictions”! I found previously that having spent a significant amount of time researching the likely IPR and tracking down the probable contemporary rights holder, everyone contacted was glad to have been asked and to give their permission for the web publication of their material. You can see our 2002 solution to outstanding rights here (although I note the link to the list of outstanding firms is now broken) and also here the approach taken by the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music – another digitisation for access/preservation project on which I was an adviser.
As you can see from the previous post, I managed to use flickr’s “blog this” feature too – can’t seem to adjust the layout, but like how the feature works. Presumably the image owner (State Library of New South Wales) will get some kind of pingback or notification that I’ve used it?
On the subject of rights, there is a consultation at the moment (until 31st March) on proposals to amend some copyright exceptions which will have a “direct and significant impact” on archivists according to Tim Padfield, TNA copyright guru. The consultation is at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/consult-gowers2.pdf and Tim has posted to the archives-nra listserv (yes, that web 1.0 social network) outlining the main issues for fair dealing and preservation copying.
And on the subject of user-generated content/descriptions for archival material, I’m following the Digital Research conference via Twitter hashtag #dr10 today (thanks to @ammeveleigh). There are also regular crowd-sourcing developments for archives posted on twitter (via #archives) – in the last week stories about the UK’s Your Archives and NARA (US) videos, for example. (I’ve just spent a while trying to find others outside the UK & North America but failing so far – maybe a language thing?? – contact me with your favourites I’ve missed).