The Flickr Commons project

Flickr have just announced a fantastic new project called The Commons. The idea behind which is to harness the collective power of the Flickr community by allowing us to tag reference collections of images from institutions around the world.

The Commons kicks off with a pilot scheme involving the U.S. Library of Congress. From their photo catalogue of over a million photos the Library team has chosen around 1,500 photos each from two of their more popular collections, 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s.

As well as being a historical treasure trove for us to pour over, absorb and catalogue, these images are also under a “no known copyright restrictions” license. It doesn’t mean they’re Public Domain, but it should allow for all sorts of interesting re-use possibilities.

It’s very addictive once you get involved and reminds me a lot of Galaxy Zoo in a way. There’s an aspect of “…just one more picture…” to it, which is bad for me as you really don’t want to know how many hours I’ve lost to Galaxy Zoo.

For more commentary on the project, pop over to Adactio where Jeremy Keith has posted some thoughtful insight.