Photo Sharing

What is photo sharing?

Photo sharing is the publishing or transfer of a user’s digital photos online, thus enabling the user to share them with others (whether publicly or privately). This functionality is provided through both web sites and applications that facilitate the upload and display of images.

Photo sharing websites have been around since the 90s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr (now owned by Yahoo) to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Within the last few years, Flickr has become the fastest growing photo sharing site on the web and is known as one of the first websites to use “tags.” Users can “tag” photos with descriptive words and phrases–what librarians would call keywords—to help themselves and others identify and search for photos. Users can create also create accounts (at no cost for up to 200 pictures), upload photos to be stored and/or shared, or just search for photos already posted. Other photo sharing sites include Picasa, Smugmug, Webshots and Photobucket.

Watch this video: “Online Photo Sharing in Plain English” by Common Craft.

As you know (or should know) not all images on the web are copyright-friendly. You do not have the rights to use all visuals found there. That is also true with Flickr photos in the overall collection.

However, the folks at Flickr have arranged separate collections based on the copyright-friendly Creative Commons rules. The photos found here can be downloaded and used by you, a visitor to the site, under the rules of the specific license for that photo.

Activity #2:

1. Take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer.

– Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the neat things that people and other libraries are using Flickr for. The Library of Congress has a Flickr account–with more than 3,000 photos that you are invited to tag. You can also see the photos posted in the Tarleton Libraries Flickr account.

-Take a look at how the Clemens and Alcuin libraries of the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University are using a Flickr feature called “add a note” to highlight books in their collections. Mouse over any of the books in the bookcase to get the details and a link to the catalog record. Very cool use of Flickr in a library.

2. flickrCC is a great tool for searching Flickr for photos that are shareable under the Creative Commons license. This means flickrCC does the legwork in rounding up pictures you can use for projects, clip art, presentations, bulletin boards, and anything else you can come up with, so long as you give credit to the photographer.

Do a search using a keyword or two from one of your interests. Enter a search term in the box and click “Find”. If you don’t like any of the first 36 photos, click on “more” on the bottom left. If you want to edit the photo before you reuse it, make sure the “FOR EDITING” box is checked (that’s the default). If you’re going to use the photo for commercial purposes, make sure the “COMMERCIAL” box is checked. Copy the URL and attribution of a photo you like, and if you want, save the photo to your flash drive, hard drive or H drive (in My Pictures is best).

Here’s a sample search I did on the word “library”, where I wanted to edit the photo:

Even better, Peter Shanks of Lithgow, Australia, the developer of flickrCC, has also included features (when you click on the “Edit image: in house” link) that enable you to crop, resize, add text and basic graphics to the image, and then add an attribution mark for the photographer. Here’s an example of a photo from the search above where I added the attribution (it’s always put below the photo and becomes part of the image) and some text I added onto the photo:

3. Write about the photo you found – tell us why you chose it! Be sure to credit the photographer, and put the URL for the photo in your comment or blog post. If you want to make the URL an active link, use this coding:

<a href=”your_photo_URL_here”>your_photo_URL_here</a>

PS: A quick word about photo posting etiquette – When posting identifiable photos of other people (especially minors) it is advisable to get the person’s permission before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures that weren’t taken by you (unless you have the photographer’s consent) and always give credit (i.e., attribution) when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog.

Explore More Resources:

Feeling more adventurous?

Optional Activity: Create a Free account in Flickr and use a digital camera to capture a few pictures of something in the library. Upload these to your Flickr account and tag at least one of the images “tsulibraries” and mark it public. Create a post here or in your own blog (be sure to link to it here) about your photo and experience. Be sure to include the image in your post. Once you have a Flickr account, you have two options for doing this: through Flickr’s blogging tool or using the WordPress or Blogger photo upload feature.


One response to “Photo Sharing

  1. Pingback: Thing 3 – Flickr « At the Fore-Edge

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