Take Pictures, Tell Stories: Flickr Extras

By Cindi Trainor |

Libraries, as explored by SnapdragonI use Flickr all the time personally, and my library has two accounts, a general library account and a University Archives account. Flickr has been around for a few years now, and librarians all over the world use it to share images from their personal and professional lives.  Flickr is more than a great place to post and share photos with your community; it's a community in itself, and a starting place for all sorts of activities.  Here are a few extra tools that can be found at and around flickr, to add a little extra to your photo experience.

Share.  Flickr at its heart is a photo- and video-sharing site.  The ability to comment on others' photos, create groups and add fellow users as contacts or friends makes flickr a social experience.  I love flickr's privacy settings.  Photos can be publicly viewable by the entire web or limited to family, friends, or made completely private.  Private photos can be shared via a Guest Pass.  Guest passes can be sent to flickr users or via email and can be revoked by owners at any time.  This is handy for sharing photos of events where not everyone has a flickr account.  There are ways to upload to flickr from mobile phonesiPhotoLightRoom, and flickr images can be blogged directly from flickr or even sent to twitter.

Extend.  Flickr is more than just a website.  There is an iPhone/iPod touch app (iTunes link), a mobile site, and countless third-party widgets and applications for exploring flickr photos and data.  Browse flickr via tags with Tagnautica or Snapdragon, watch the immense amount of data uploaded to flickr via flickr Real Time or flickrvision (3D!), create a time-lapse of similar flickr photos, or immerse yourself in flickr images with Cooliris or Flickriver.  Browse and graph flickr stats, peruse EXIF data (YMMV), or create an Interestingness Timeline or DNA badge for your stream.  Flickr recently created The App Garden, a clearinghouse for applications and websites that take advantage of flickr's API.

Create.  Flickr partners with HP's Snapfish to enable print and other item ordering directly from flickr.  Flickr's snapfish connection is accessed through the Organizr and allows quick creation of cards, calendars, collages and canvases, and quick linking into Snapfish provides much more.  (NB: not to be outdone, Shutterfly and Picasa are pretty close friends.)  Many other websites connect with flickr: create a book with blurb.com's BookSmart software; a magazine at MagCloud; business cards, postcards or greeting cards at Moo; framed prints from ImageKind; all kinds of stuff--mousepads! neckties! hoodies! totebags!--at Zazzle

Explore. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that flickr is a wellspring of great art and images that is simply a joy to behold.  Flickr records how its photos are browsed, commented upon and added to favorites and analyzes this data to rank photos by what it calls "Interestingness."  Interestingness is just one way to explore flickr; don't miss flickr's Place SearchCamera Finder, and Flickr Analog, dedicated to images shot on film.  The Commons is a collection of public photos shared by institutions including the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress and dozens of other libraries and museums.

The above image courtesy Snapdragon.

About the Series

Last summer, I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in a LITA Preconference session with Michael Porter and Helene Blowers titled, "A Thousand Words: Taking Better Photos for Telling Stories in Your Library." Michael and Helene shared great tips for using and reusing photos to record and relate the stories of our libraries and our communities, and I explained and illustrated the basic principles of photography, and that pictures can be improved by understanding how these principles work together to produce a properly exposed image. There was a ton of content shared over the day; over the next few months, the “Take Pictures, Tell Stories @ Our Libraries” series will share some of this and other photo-related content with TechSource readers.