Flickr, a photo sharing website has announced a new project called “The Commons.” The Commons is a project made in collaboration with the US Library of Congress. Flickr has over 3,000 cataloged images from the US Library of Congress. Flickr welcomes contributions from other sources including your local historical society, photo club, or you to be included in “The Commons.” Each photo is “tagged” with a description of the image. (Tags are key words used for searching on file, photo, and video sharing websites. Clicking on a tag will bring you to more photos described with similar key words and terms. Click here to learn more about tags). The images in “The Commons” are, in addition to being searchable by tag, categorized for you to search through manually. For example, there is a category labeled “News in the 1910’s.”
Applications for Education
Photographs and paintings are great ways of showing students how people dressed, what a place looked like or looks like, news headlines as reported at the time, the list can go on for a long time. No longer do Humanities and Arts educators have to sift through pages of internet search results to get what they’re looking for.
The tagging and sharing features of Flickr could be incorporated into a lesson. A US History class could search images, describe them, tag them, and then share the images with each other and the instructor. An Art or Photography teacher could do a similar activity with the students describing the artist’s technique or other elements of the image.
To learn more about Flickr’s services, click here.