Historic photos on Flickr

This morning, I read this post from The Atlantic about a collection of Civil War photos added to Flickr by the Library of Congress. The photos look like they are all cased tintypes, many of them hand-colored…so very interesting.

I love projects like this: using Web 2.0 and new media tools to share history with the world. Many places are using Flickr for this type of project. We recently got a Flickr account for the Dayton library, in fact. It’s one more way to get your “stuff” to everyone “out there.” Plus, there’s always the hope that people will engage your content, maybe even identify a person or a place that has been up to this point “unidentified.”

Flickr has a lof of neat ways to interact with content: comments, tags, mapping, and even groups. I was interested in a place where people from the Dayton area could share their local history photos and see others’ photos…and not finding one, I created one: History in the Miami Valley (Ohio). So far it has 19 members, and I only just created it last week.

I am amazed at some of the photos people are sharing on Flickr — the way we are documenting the present, which years from now will amount to having documented the past. We have a wonderful collection like this at the library—the Lutzenberger photograph collection—full of pictures from the 1880s to 1930s. I always marvel at the way things used to look — especially the things that aren’t there anymore (and there are a lot of those!). It might seem silly to go out and take pictures of ordinary places and things, now, but in 100 years, people will look at those pictures the same way we look at pictures from 1900 today. I hope not only that these photos survive that long — oh the digital age! (but that’s for another entry) — but that some of them make it into a library or archives to be shared and studied by all.

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