Ready for some Deep Community? Yesterday an email came through from someone I know through teaching the ?Keep Up!? library technology workshops. In the message (thanks, Sarah) was a link to this page detailing a partnership with PictureAustralia.org, 41 other(mostly Australian) governmental and community institutions and Flickr. This is crazy cool!
Lots of folks know that Flickr is about sharing digital photos (and community and so much more). Many of us even have set up a Flickr photo streams for our own library (nice work!). However, a smaller number are likely familiar with PictureAustralia, which is ?an Internet based service that allows you to search many significant online pictorial collections at the same time?.
So PictureAustralia is a database of archival Australian images. Mostly older archival images. These are obviously amazingly valuable and useful, just not often especially contemporary. Picture Australia?s new Flickr partnership will easily allow millions (my estimate) of contemporary snapshots of Australian life to be added to their image database in an amazingly short amount of time.
How will it work? Well, PictureAustralia has two Flickr photo pools (aka groups). The images added to the pools will be what PictureAustralia.org “harvests” weekly to augment their archival image database. Cool X3!!!
Interestingly, PictureAustralia will also ?collect the metadata? for the photos in their Flickr groups. Folksonomies get a rather impressive stamp of approval this way, no? I wonder if they will collect date stamp/camera info as well? Speaking from experience in a very simialr situation I can attest to both the value and trouble of adding consistant tags in a group like this. I wonder if they will make any attempt to do this, and if so to what extent? Oh, I’ve got ideas!
It is interesting that they decided to partner with Flick (with is by extension now also Yahoo!) rather than create their own tool, eh?
As we?ve seen with the very widely used Libraries and Librarians Group on Flickr, (469 members and 2268 images in the pool today), this idea will surely take wing, grow community and contribute significantly to the level of public participation, discourse and documentation. Except this time it has been kicked up a couple of notches, to a national (international really as New Zealand is also involved) level.
I?d really love to talk with some folks that worked on this deal, but more than that I want to ask the National Library of Australia and PictureAustralia: ?Why didn?t you just hire me to help head up this program??. Even without my input, I still give all the folks involved with this project a very hearty ?Good on you!?. This will be a fun one to watch!