The first incarnation of The Commons is a pilot project we’ve created in partnership with The Library of Congress. The Library has an enormous photo catalogue, containing over a million photos. The Library team has chosen about 1,500 photos each from two of their more popular collections to show on Flickr. You can see what the streets of Puerto Rico looked like in the 40s, or what King George wore to the trooping of Colors in 1911.
There are two main aims to The Commons project, starting with the pilot: firstly, to increase exposure to the amazing content currently held in the public collections of civic institutions around the world, and secondly, to facilitate the collection of general knowledge about these collections, with the hope that this information can feed back into the catalogues, making them richer and easier to search.
While this is an exciting application of new technology the site needs your help cataloging the historic photos. The power behind flickr is their use of user submitted tags to organize the site’s enormous collection of user photos. Tags are short one or two word descriptions that let you find the best photos of offshore oil rigs or sunsets at sea.
To effectively sort the historic photographs Flickr and the Library of Congress is asking everyone to pick a few photos from the collection and add tags. Once this has been done the photos of ships should emerge HERE.