2: Photos and images (core)

(Guide time: 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes.) 

Photo of a bluebell wood
CC http://www.flickr.com/photos/herry/

What can you do with photos and images?

Even if you’ve never used Flickr, you are likely to have heard of it. Photo sharing websites have been around since the 90s, but it took Flickr, a small startup site, to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community.

Flickr is also known as one of the first websites to use keyword tags to create associations and connections between photos. Users can tag photos with descriptive words and phrases to help other users identify and search for photos. (And if you’re not familiar with tagging, Don’t Panic! We’ll cover that in more depth in Tagging and social bookmarking!) Photos can be marked public or private so that you can choose who sees what.

What is Flickr?
Flickr is an online photo management and sharing application on an online community platform. It was one of the first Web 2.0 applications that is still going strong, hosting over 2 billion images in their database. The site’s popularity is heavily due to the organization tools and the ability to tag and browse photos by social classifications. Users can choose to share photos with the general public or keep them private.
Users can upload their digital images from their desktop to organize their photos in a centralized location and then choose to share them with the world.
Benefits of Using Flickr

  1. Organization- Images are organized by tags, sets, and groups. Flickr users can find images associated with the topic of their interest (such as a location name) through these forms of metadata.
  2. Sharing– Photos can be shared with millions of users and targeted groups. Groups are people with common interests such as food, pets, events, destinations, activities or events, etc. If a topic of your passion is not found, you can start and create your own group.
  3. Control– Photos can be stored as public or private.
  4. Interaction– User friendly and compatible with various platforms and browsers. Flickr partners with third parties to offer streamlined services.
  5. Increase Web Presence– Online photos are easily distributed. Flickr profiles often show up in organic search and do add to organic relevancy. You can also get some relevant traffic if uploaded pictures are tagged with the most desirable and relevant keywords.

Before you start to explore Flickr; watch commoncraft’s common sense introduction to Flickr and photosharing.

Why do this?

Within the past few years, Flickr has become one of the most popular photo sharing sites on the web. It’s become so popular that library staff often get asked for help with Flickr by members of the public using library PCs. In addition, many libraries are creating accounts to promote their services and show off their photographic collections.

Some of the ways that libraries use Flickr

To increase access to publicly-held photography collections:

Community involvement:

Library event promotion:

Using others’ images

Uploaded images are also a great resource when looking for pictures for displays and posters. Before downloading or copying an image from the web to use in your own work, always ensure that you have the creators permission to use their work and give them full credit.

There are several sites which gather together images which their creators are happy to share. Often use of these images is controlled by Creative Commons licences. More about these licences can be found here. Examples of sites offering free images are:


To complete this week’s activity you now have 2 options. (You might want to print out these instructions so you can follow them step by step.)

To use photos on Flickr and/or upload your own you will need a Yahoo, Flickr or Google ID. However, you can browse the photos without joining up.

Either: For those of you who do not want to set up a Flickr account 

1. Take the Flickr tour and find an interesting image that you want to blog about. You can explore Flickr photos, search the tags, view various groups, and more without a Flickr account.

2. Use any keyword(s) (e.g. football, cats, llamas, library), your authority or whatever…to find photos with those tags.

3. When you find an interesting image or group using Flickr, blog about your experience. Include a link to the image in the post and be sure to credit the photographer.

4. Understand Creative Commons and licensing your photos at Flickr by visiting the Flickr Creative Commons page.

5. Complete a further activity from the recommended followups below.

Or: The better option for those of you who want to create a Flickr account 

1. Create a Free Account in Flickr (note that Flickr is now part of Yahoo. If you have a Yahoo account for email or MyYahoo, log in with that. If not you will need to create a new Yahoo email account).

2. You can use a digital camera to capture a few pictures of something in your library, for example, or maybe you already have some suitable digital images you could use for this exercise.

3. Upload these to your new Flickr account and tag at least one of the images with (name of your authority) Libraries – 23 Things. Be sure to mark the photo public. Read more about Flickr tagging. Go ahead and add your tag(s).

Remember that when uploading photos it is always advisable to get the person’s permission before making their photo publicly accessible on a site like Flickr. Do not post photos that you did not take and pretend they are your own. If you have permission to post someone else’s pictures, give their name.

4. Add one or more of your images to your blog. You can add the image in one of two ways:

  • Flickr’s blogging tool lets you click the “Blog This” button (right above the picture) and add any public photo on Flickr to your blog (remember that you will need a Flickr account to see the button).
  • WordPress blogs allow you to add photos from your computer or from the Web and choose the placement in your blog post. Click the little image icon in the toolbar on the New Post page—it is in the row of tools above the post box after Upload/Insert. Follow the instructions in the pop up box.

5. Once you have the photo uploaded and tagged, create a post in your blog about your photo and Flickr experience.
Will you use Flickr for the library or for your personal photos, or in another way?

6. Understand Creative Commons and licensing your photos at Flickr by visiting the Flickr Creative Commons page.

Recommended followups

If you have some time left or simply want to learn more, try one of the following activities:

(1) If you have a Flickr account, consider joining and contributing photos to a Flickr group. Here are two you might want to look at:

(2) If you wish to explore further here are some other photo sharing sites from the list below to see what else is out there. Remember to check out the ownership policy when posting pictures online.

(3) Flickr encourages everyone to build online applications which use images found on the site. Explore some of these on Flickr’s App Garden and post a comment on your blog. Here are a couple of ideas you might be interested in:

  • Show where you have been on your travels by adding your holiday snaps to a map with Mappr.
  • Be creative and gather photos into a mosaic using Montager.
  • Turn your photo into a jigsaw.

So go ahead, look around the site and have some Flickr photo fun!

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