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Flickr for Libraries – Catching On

Libraries seem to be catching onto the fact that Flickr has become the de facto site for photo sharing on the web. It’s certainly not the only photo sharing site, but if your goal is to reach a large audience with well-organized and sharable images, Flickr is hard to beat.

The Library of Congress has been on Flickr since January, and has uploaded 3,815 photos to date. Just a sliver of their catalog, but a great start with images like the 1913 presidential inauguration of Woodrow Wilson:

Inaug. 1913 (LOC)

Another interesting use is the San Mateo Library, which is publishing photos of speakers and other guests to Flickr including “The Bat Lady” who had her audience at attention as she taught children about bats:

The Bat Lady gently shows a small bat to awestruck children at the Woodside Library

Flickr SafeSearch Settings

Yesterday, I clicked on the profile link of someone who left a comment on one of my photos on Flickr. After arriving at his photos, I was presented with a warning that the photos may not be safe for my innocent eyes.

Feeling a bit risky – hey, I’m just back from Vegas, so how bad could they be? – I clicked the button that said I could handle whatever awaited me behind the wall.

What did I see? Coral. Lots of coral. It looks like this particular Flickr user really likes his saltwater aquarium and takes a lot of photos of the coral within it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself questioning Flickr’s SafeSearch feature. It throws out way too many false positives.

Previously, I’ve tried to turn it off, figuring my eyes wouldn’t melt if I happened upon something I found inappropriate. that’s what the back button is for, right? However, at the time, I couldn’t find a way to say I’m an adult.

It looks like that problem has been resolved with a new SafeSearch setting that allows Flickr users to decide for themselves whether potentially offensive photos should or should not be blocked by default.

Flickr SafeSearch Settings

Control is now in your hands. Have fun.

New Flickr Web Uploader is a Giant Leap Forward

Flickr has finally gotten around to improving their web based photo uploader.

The previous one was so bad, I would download the client based uploader to friend’s computers in order to upload more than 2-3 photos. You had to click, browse, and select photo after photo one at a time, which was extraordinarily painful. And well behind what can be done on the web today.

The new web based uploadr allows users to select multiple images at once using Ctrl-click:

Flickr Web Uploadr

Before transferring the images, some batch settings can be applied to the images:

Flickr Web Uploadr

They’re then batch uploaded with a well designed status animation showing the progress of each photo:

Flickr Web Uploadr

Once uploaded, additional titles, descriptions, and tags can be added:

Flickr Web Uploadr

It’s great to see this new feature from Flickr. This is among the best web based upload tools I’ve seen, although it still falls short of Facebook’s photo uploader, which I personally consider the best on the web today. Facebook does the best job of showing photo previews and makes selecting individual photos from a folder very simple.

Photos of Jeremy Elfering

Picture 631, originally uploaded by jeremiah_owyang.

I’ve been receiving numerous requests for more photos of Jeremy Elfering. While not all photos of Jeremy are suitable for public consumption, there are probably more photos of Jeremy online than most people realize.

For example, I went through photos posted on Flickr from the CES show and found Jeremy in a bunch of them. I added his name to the photo’s tags, so they’re now available when searching for his name.

BTW, if you see yourself of someone else you know if any of my photos and want to add them as a tag, just become my Flickr friend. That gives you the power to add additional tags.

Blogging Flickr Photos

If you use Flickr and publish public photos, there a very good chance people you don’t know could do things with them. They can look at them, email them, and they can also blog about them.

This led to an interesting encounter on The Deets yesterday and was the motivation behind a post on Technology Evangelist today.

Everyone has a slightly different public/private photo comfort level. Flickr offers users the tools they need to address this.

Shoefiti in Sunnyvale

IMG_0097.JPG, originally uploaded by edkohler.

Jeremy snapped this shot in Sunnyvale, CA just after sunset. Don’t worry, we weren’t hanging out waiting for perfect light. is undergoing some serious upgrades. I’m shooting for having it back online by the end of the year.

BTW, it looks like the term I coined is catching on. People are describing shoes on power lines loaded to Flickr as Shoefiti these days.

FUH2 – Right On!

This was my first FUH2 photo:


If it’s not immediately obvious what this is all about, try this: F-U H2.

I first heard about this in an interview with one of the founders of Flickr, Caterina Fake, on Geek Entertainment TV. Fake said it was one of her favorite Flickr tags. So on the way to work one day, I passed this H2, gave it an FU, and emailed it to my Flickr acccount. Small things like this make the world a better place.

I don’t think I could eat enough soy to crave an H2.

Edison Moudry: Seattle Photographer

100_0302, originally uploaded by edisonmoudry.

My latest Flickr friend is also my youngest (Gen-Z?). Edison Moudry has a new Flickr photo account. No word on whether he got help from his dad setting it up, of if he helped his dad with his account.

Edison likes documenting hiking trips in the Seattle area, stuff around the house, and pictures of mom and dad.

Wow-Factor Photos on Flickr

Flying Dallin, originally uploaded by zelph.

One of my favorite photo pools on Flickr is the WOW! pool where only photos with a WOW! factor are supposed to be contributed. While that’s a fairly subjective thing (cats? please), there really are some gems. Some of the most impressive photos to me come from places I’ve never seen before, such as exotic beaches, hiking trails, and small cities around the world.

You can subscribe to a pool’s photos by adding the RSS feed URL found at the bottom of each pool’s page.

Cute kid photos are a really questionable submission, but flying kids have serious WOW! factor.

Another interesting feed is photos tagged with the term Minneapolis. Photos of cool stuff going on around town come directly to me in Bloglines through this feed. Cool stuff.

Upload Your Pictures – Flickr Photo Sharing Explained

Explains why you should upload your photos to the web, and explains why Flickr is a good place to do this.

Please, please, please put your photos online.

Quick story:

I recently stopped by my parent’s home in search of a few pictures of their home for use in a web project I’m working on. They have lived in the same home since 1983 so they have a ton of pictures of the house from the past twelve years.

What did I have to do to find the photos I was looking for? Dig through shoe boxes and photo albums! How primitive. And to make matters worse, what else did I find in the shoe boxes? Photos of me from the past two decades! Outside of a few awkward teenage years, I don’t belong in a shoebox.

Memories Should be Easily Accessible

Have you ever taken a picture with the intention of putting it in a shoe box? Leaving it in the package from the developer? Stuck on your computer in a random folder? Trapped on your camera’s memory card? Of course not, but that doesn’t stop most of us from doing exactly that every day.

Photos Should be Shared

The photos I find most interesting are often candid shots. There is something special captured in pictures that managed to discretely document a moment in time. Posed photos simply capture a group of people trying not to flinch when the flash goes off while wondering how much longer they’ll have to smile. The problem is many of photos like this are distributed over the group of cameras that were used at any given event. Those pictures deserve each other.

How many pictures of your friends do you have that they’ve never seen? Put those photos online now so your friends can enjoy them too.

Share Photos Online

There are certainly a lot of options for uploading and sharing photos online today. I’m going to share what I like about one photo sharing service below, but this doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice. Please share your thoughts in the comments below about the photo sharing services you’re tried and loved or hated.

Flickr is a web based photo sharing service acquired by Yahoo in March that lets people upload and share photos with others. It’s a popular and fast growing web site with over 1 billion uploaded photos. That’s a lot of photos, but considering that more than 1.3 billion photos were uploaded to online systems last year alone, and over 28 billion digital photos are snapped per year, it represents only a fraction of our documented world.

Here is what I like about Flickr:

  1. I can batch upload photos to the site while doing other things like writing this blog post.
  2. I can set permissions on every photo I upload. This lets me decide which photos are appropriate for my family, friends, everyone, or should remain private.
  3. I can “tag” each photo with descriptive keywords that allow me to easily search for related photos.
  4. Other people can add comments to my photos, sharing memories or perspectives of the photos I took.
  5. It gives me peace of mind to know that my digital photos are backed up somewhere beyond my computer.
  6. I can order prints for as little as $0.15 for 4″x6″ photos and pick them up at my local Target store.
  7. I can let my friends, family, or even people I don’t know print my photos without lifting a finger. 
  8. Flickr will store photos at their original resolution, so I can print photos larger than 4×6.

Does this beat the shoebox treatment? I think so. Think outside the shoebox!

What online photo services do you prefer? Which ones drive you nuts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.