1.13.2008

the plan was simple enough


Last summer, the Library of Congress teamed with Flickr for a pilot project called The Commons. As part of that project, the LOC opened a Flickr account and uploaded a little over 3,000 of its archived images earlier this month. (The LOC houses 14 million prints, photographs and other visual materials.)

The goal was to address two of the major challenges the Library faces: 1. ensuring better access to their collections, and 2. maintaining the best possible information for the benefit of researchers and posterity.


The result was astonishing and could arguably be one of the greatest cultural achievements to date in the young world of social networking.


Here's what happened within two days:

• all 3,100+ photos viewed
• 420 of the photos had comments
• 1,200 of the photos were 'favorited'
• 392,000 views on the photostream
• 650,000 views of photos


Apparently, no one at either the LOC or Flickr expected this kind of public response.

From Flickr's blog: "Frankly, none of us could quite fathom how fantastic the response to the pilot has been." And Matt Raymond of the Library of Congress responded by saying "I can tell you that the reaction to this two-day-old project has already vastly exceeded our expectations."



Where might the Library of Congress take this project? And what might other libraries consider for bringing their collections to the public?

For now, I'm thrilled with the opportunity to access these visions of 20th Century Americana, most especially this remarkable set of color shots from the 30s and 40s.





:the commons; 1930s-40s in color

8 comments:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Wow... this is amazing! I had no idea about the project. Thank you for posting this.

P said...

This is really extraordinary. I can't wait to check it out. Fabulous post.

Joanna Goddard said...

amazing. i love that there was such an incredible response. those photos are stunning. funnily enough, my boyfriend and i were JUST looking through a book of 1939-1943 photos last night and many of these photos were in there. gorgeous and so evocative.

Jane Flanagan said...

This is amazing. The saturation of the photos reminds me of Cindy Sherman's work, which makes them even more remarkable. Thanks for this link!

Luisa Perkins said...

These are all fabulous. I must see more.

It is sad to me that the days are gone when a woman would wear lipstick while doing machine work.

studio wellspring said...

oh wow, how fantastic! thank you ever so much for letting us know about it.

vie chaotique said...

I had not heard of this, thanks for telling us! Simply sublime.

P said...

Oh, for heaven's sake. Another meme. I tagged you. Don't hate me.