More fiddling with Flickr

This week, I’ve been having a go at uploading some more material into our Flickr account, inspired by a recent post on the blog of the National Library of New Zealand, which details how they have been interacting with the system.

We’ve identified Flickr as one of the ‘utility’ services that we want to use where materials can be uploaded and can then be used by third parties if and when they want, subject to the usual restrictions.  It continues on the theme of a ‘shop window to the NLS’

In the long term, we would like to develop standards based metadata for all digital resources and that will allow them to be discovered semantically.

Anyway, this week I’ve chosen to use an extract from The Woodburn collection, which is a  miscellaneous collection of 205 books and pamphlets held by the Library which belonged to Rt Hon Dr Arthur Woodburn (1890-1978), Labour politician and Secretary of State for Scotland 1947-50.  The extract is from a fabulous set of Soviet Posters from the 1920’s to 1930’s (72 in all) and its these images that I have uploaded this week. You should see them in the flickr widget in the right hand margin of the blog.

What’s of particular note in this particular set is that I’ve placed a link within the metadata in Flickr which is pointing to the native interface we’ve been developing to our DOD system (Digital Object Database) This public interface will allow for greater access to all the digitised materials we have here and that are not part of any particulr web feature.

At the moment this interface is at a very early ‘alpha’ stage, but nevertheless provide the opportunity for us to deliver a hook to any visitors to the Flickr site and who may wish to explore the full extent of the collection.  Comments welcome.

Other Notes:

  • I’m not sure if there is a right and wrong way of presenting the bibliographic metadata in Flickr, and can’t help but think that using the structured approach I did is a bit of overkill. This will obviously change when its possible to configure and upload much more structured metadata into the system. However there is a benefit in using this structured approach in that I was able to set up a simple mail merge document and linking it to the extract of metadata that I got from the system. With this, I was able to just cut and past the full set of details into the description field in the Flickr uploader application.
  • As soon  as I uploaded the posters it occurred to me that as fascinating as they are, these posters simply are not anything to do with Scotland.  I don’t suppose there is any reason why this should have bothered me, but it did. I may have to rethink my selection ‘policy’ for the next set that goes up there.
  • I used the best quality images available to me through the DOD to upload. This means that you can really dive in to the pictures and look at the detail. This is great, but I was reminded that its better to turn off the download facility as we clearly want to be encouraging folks to come to the NLS site where possible and not to just rely on Flickr (which, by the way, could be seen as a contradiction to our long term aim of making these items available for reuse, and I think needs a bit more thought). Next time I think I’ll get a more low grade derivation from the master file.
  • I worried a bit about whether or not I should change the rights data to something other than ‘All rights reserved’ and in the end left it as it was. I have made a note to spend more time looking at the commons approach.

All in all, I think it was a success – I’m a bit pleased with myself and just hope that people have a look and start to comment.

Do svidaniya!



One Response

  1. Great collection on Flickr! I agree that it is a very difficult to make some of those decisions of what metadata fields to include (if not the whole set of fields)…

    I’ve noticed on other Flickr collections that the catchall ‘All rights reserved’ phrase on other collections, particularly professional photographers.

    We recently started a work blog on digital libraries, so I used the NLS’s blog for this week’s topic. Here’s a link-



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