Holiday pics

After thinking some more about the question of whether or not to make fewer photos on Flickr public (Privacy on the Internet . . . and Me), I’ve decided that I’m going to make more of them friends & family only, especially those featuring people*. That means you’ll have to make a (free) Flickr account (they’re owned by Yahoo!, so you can use an existing Yahoo! account) and be friended by me in order to see them. And in order to be friended I need to know you in real life. Them’s the breaks.

There are ways that I can share the photos out to people without accounts, so I will probably do that with big events and parties. But for random occasional/incidental photos you’ll need a login. I am toying with the idea of making a guest account — something that folks who don’t have a Flickr accunt and aren’t interested in having one could use to get access to my photos — so let me know if you are intersted in this.

All that’s to say that I started this new system with the family holiday photos I just uploaded. I’m still debating on whether or not I want to go back and change the permissions on photos I’ve already uploaded. (I suspect this will happen some weekend when I’m bored. We’ll see.) So, consider this your warning that at some point, certain of my photo archives will disappear if you are not already a Flickr friend.

*Contributing to this decision was the fact that within a couple of days of writing that post I noticed that a photo of mine had been favorited by someone who was going around making a collection of photos where ladies’ pants were riding a bit on the low side. Luckily the gal in the photo in question was a stranger, but still. It appeared that at some point Flickr had deleted their original account, but they had created a new one and were going back and re-finding all their favorites. Ew.

Privacy on the Internet . . . and me

As I was writing the previous post (Privacy on the Internet) it got me thinking about how I approach posting things online. I have a ton of stuff online about myself and am easily findable with a quick Google search. (At the moment 6/10 (without middle initial) and 8/10 (with) of the first page of results are about me.

Even though I’m all over the place, I’m still taking advantage of privacy controls, and I’m trying not to post things that I think could cause me trouble down the line. (There was an exception to that rule for several months.) But I’m finding it increasingly difficult to balance the desire to be out there,  making myself findable and accessible, with the desire to control who can see the details. Continue reading

Flickr upgrade

The other night, I noticed a little link on my Flickr homepage — did I want to upgrade to the new interface? Why sure. I have to say, I like it. Given that there hadn’t been any big announcements that this was coming (a ala the new Facebook) I figured it probably wasn’t going to be that much of a change. But in some important ways, it is.

Now, the first thing I see when I hit my Flickr homepage is recent activity. That’s both on my photos (who’s commented, favorited them, tagged them, added a note, etc.) and on photos on which I have commented — that means I can more easily follow the developing conversation around a video that a friend took of new dining spaces at my library school. This information was available previously, but this change really puts the social aspect front and center. Of course, there are those of us who were already using it as a social tool to a certain extent, but I think this will make it more obvious to other folks. (The social aspect of Flickr is something that seems to puzzle people when I am explaining what it is and why it’s so much better than whatever online service is provided by your camera manufacturer.)

I can also see a small line graph of daily views of all my photos, and when I click through on that I get a more detailed breakdown of which photos have been viewed recently. Again, this was available before (I believe) but it wasn’t front and center. Now I know that a photo I took of a Loyola building in January was viewed 7 times yesterday. (Welcome, freshmen.) And I also know that this photo of a ballband dishcloth has been viewed more than 14,000 times since I uploaded it on 11/18/06. (I blame Ravelry, and also the incredible popularity of this pattern among a certain type of knitter.)

When I scroll down on my homepage, I can still see the 8 most recent uploads from my contacts (I believe previously on the homepage you only saw 6; that or the thumbnails were smaller). And below that, the four most recent photos from one of my groups are displayed. (Not sure how the group is picked – randomly? Last one I added to?)

There’s still a small box highlighting a recent post on the Flickr blog, and there’s another little box with a rotating announcement. The really neat thing is that I can manually refresh that little box and cycle through a handful of announcements and helpful info. I know this is not really an unusual feature, but I like the little icon they’ve made to indicate that you can do this. (In nerdspeak — I am fond of this design pattern.)

Anyway, that’s that. Flickr users should keep an eye out for that little link (not sure if they are slowly rolling it out or if it’s available for everyone). Oh, I should mention that there’s an entertaining little interlude while your homepage rearranges itself, too. I thought it really captured Flickr’s friendly/funny vibe.

Smithsonian on Flickr

The Smithsonian has joined Flickr Commons, the project that’s aiming to expose more of the amazing photographs locked away in our cultural institutions. Take a look! Photos from Library of Congress, the Powerhouse Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum are also up on the Commons — all are linked from the main page.

Interesting things are already starting to happen with this project — one person has recreated a photo they spotted on the Commons, and according to Roy Tennant, some of the data being added to the LoC’s photos on is making it back into their records. To me, that’s the best part of this whole thing — that they are able to collect new information about these items, and that they’re using it.


I just used flickrSLiDR (sometimes this whole web 2.0 naming scheme has gone too far – what’s with the random caps?) to make a slideshow to embed on the 2008 photo journal page on my website. I had been using a series of flickr badges that were arranged in a table, but that didn’t work consistently – they didn’t always update. Too many badges on one page, I think. Anyway, this is pretty cool. My only complaint is that neither version–they offer both a standards-compliant (aka broken in IE) and a non-standards-compliant version) doesn’t center on the page in Firefox.

Anyway, I think it looks pretty cool, and I like how the photo zooms back to display the caption next to it.

Update on BPL's Flickr project

My friend Michael at BPL emailed this morning with an update on the BPL’s Flickr project. They’ve loaded a bunch more collections (including some awesome old New England postcards), and enabled tagging & commenting.

Jessamyn beat me to the punch* and posted the whole rundown (Michael emailed the two of us because we both posted it — Jessamyn originally picked it up from me, which is weird but cool) so I’ll just link to her post.

I just think this whole project is so cool, and I’m psyched that I know the librarian responsible! The images are just fantastic and it’s so exciting that the number of people who will see them is just going to explode because they’re up online in such an easily accessible way.

I’m already scheming about what sort of project I can make with the images of these postcards. I think it’d be cool to frame a little series of them or something. Go here to check them out.

* I was on the reference desk when I got Michael’s email, and just afterwards got three simultaneous questions through our virtual chat reference system. Three! At once! That kept me busy for a while.

Boston Public Library on Flickr

I have a friend who works at the Boston Public Library, and he recently emailed several of us to let us know that a project he’d been working on has come to fruition. In his own words:

I’ve been working on a Flickr API application that will take a bunch of the items in the Boston Public Library Digital Collections (not yet online) and push them, with full metadata, to Flickr.

This is pretty cool, if you ask me. The collections that he’s gotten online so far include a bunch of cool WWII propaganda posters, some old posters from Boston Brewery, and a cool collection of early Boston baseball photos.

I know there are still some skeptics who don’t see the use in putting this kind of stuff on Flickr — why not put it in your own digital library, or just up on your website? — but I think it’s really neat. It gets these things out into a pre-existing community, and makes it super easy to link to them, blog them, and the like. In this case, the metadata is included, which means you can see all of the important information, like the accession numbers, description, subject headings, etc. Currently they haven’t enabled tagging & commenting, but once they do it’ll be really neat to see what other information the community can add to this.

For those who may have missed it, the Library of Congress is doing something similar.