At Mosman Library tonight Yahoo's Morgan Williams presented a talk on Flickr with an emphasis on Flickr Commoms and potential use of the site for family and local history. (How anyone can be expected to give a presentation on a Web2.0 application without internet access is beyond belief. When a while ago I attended a presentation on blogging at the same venue there was also no internet access.) Addendum 1/8/2010) Apologies to Mosman Council - apparently the speaker declined the offer of wireless access - SHAME!
Morgan did a reasonable job with only a Powerpoint style presentation with screen dumps of Flickr pages.Demonstrating a collaborative tool without being able to collaborate is a challenge. The promotional gifts of tshirts, badges,stickers and lens cleaners were gleefully accepted by the audience.
Williams suggests that Flickr is the best photo site in the world with 51 million registered members and 4 billion images stored ont the site. Flickr he he says is about "engaging community" through photo sharing.
Institutions like the Library of Congress and the Powerhouse Museum have photo collections on Flickr that can be accessed and used by the Public through Creative Commons Licences. Williams commended Mosman Library for posting photos to a collection on Flickr and suggetsed that other libraries could us volunteers to help them use Flickr to share photos from their collections.
Williams talked about how he and his father are putting photos from the 18th and 19th centuries into a Williams Commons collection. He suggests that Flickr is a solid platform for genealogists to use for photo sharing.
I had not thought of Flickr as a genealogy resource but while Williams was talking I logged into Flickr Mobile on my phone and searched for photos of a few places that are significant in my family history. I found some wondeful images of Cobar, NSW and St Mary's Church, Waverley. I have previously restricted my searches for historical Australian images to library and archives sites such as Picture Australia.Now I have a new source.
I am writing this on my phone and don't have wifi on my camera so can't upload photos with this post. I will do so once I get home.
Although I have bagged Mosman Council and library I commend them for hosting these free informative sessions and for their work in using IT to connect with the community. With provision of appropriate technology they would be excellent.