Five years and a handful of days ago we embarked on a trip into unchartered territories. What would happen if we joined other cultural heritage institutions in the newly born Flickr Commons?
It was an easy choice for me — promoting access, celebrating photographs, having a load of fun. It also complimented our other Flickr account.
But this was a shift in many ways for our archives, asking us to think about copyright and access, use and promotion. If we put items in Flickr Commons, according to the legally binding contract we signed, those items were free and clear for use. We still asked that people filled out permissions forms, but those were just a formality and used for tallying numbers.
We were joining a pretty formidable group, with the Library of Congress and Smithsonian among the members. the Library of Congress in particular had reported HUGE spikes in interaction and use. We braced ourselves.
Big spikes never came, though we have had a whole lot of views over the past 5 years, even without adding a lot of new content. People continue to appreciate our willingness to offer access to historical items that can often be “locked down” or prohibitively expensive to use. I’m still proud to be the first university in the Commons, and still happy that I wrote that email 5 1/2 years ago.
And it’s still fun.