Apparently in the last few days the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has joined the ranks of archives–big and small–who are sharing their images via Flickr. NARA is currently sharing 195 images, representing “Favorites of the U.S. National Archives,” “Women’s Bureau Photographs” (only 12), and two sets from the DOCUMERICA collection–”DOCUMERICA Favorites” (consistently oddly of only 3 images), and a set focusing on the DOCUMERICA images on one photographer–Michael Philip Manheim.
NARA has made some good choices–allowing users to add tags and notes to the images. They have supplied only basic tags for some of the images (although others are most extensively tagged), but have included subject headings in their descriptive metadata. The images are classified as having “no known copyright restrictions,” which is the same classification that images in the Flickr Commons also bear. These NARA images are not in the Commons, although it would seem they clearly belong there (along with so many of the ArchivesOnFlickr). It would be interesting to get a public statement from NARA about why they’re not joining the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress in the Commons–or at least what the hold-up is. It would also be interesting to hear what their overall population plan is for Flickr–why were these images posted first and what other kinds of images can we expect to be added?
I’ve heard that changes are underway at the Commons that will make it easier for organizations to join, but haven’t seen any confirmation of that, so perhaps soon NARA and the rest of the archives on Flickr will be able to join in on the fun in the Commons, but in the meantime, enjoy the images, share your thoughts about this new addition (and any other Flickr issues) in the comments here, and spread the word–and yes, Nixon and Elvis are there . . .