LC-Flickr: updating the catalog

October 22nd, 2008 by GĂĽnter

In the context of John MacColl’s guest blog on Karen Calhoun’s Metalogue, I was reminded of the stats from the LC-Flickr project pertaining to changes LC made in their own catalog prompted by insightful Flickr comments.

When I last updated my Flickr slides for a class at Syracuse University, I found 174 records containing the word “flickr” in an all text field search of LC’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. The records in that set usually contain a credit such as “Source: Flickr Commons project” for information which has been added, like in this instance.

The same search today yields a whopping 4,256 records – which is quite close to the entire set of images LC has on Flickr (4,615 as of today). Upon closer inspection, I found that many of these records don’t contain a change to the substance of the record – however, they now do have a useful pointer to a discussion about the photograph on the Flickr site, and that’s why my search retrieved them. For an example, see this record which includes the following language: “Additional information about this photograph might be available through the Flickr Commons project at http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2369119062“. On Flickr, one can then follow a playful discussion about dating the photograph.

Interestingly enough, these links to Flickr aren’t programmatic – an item which doesn’t have comments on Flickr doesn’t seem to receive the link. See for yourself – the LC equivalent of this Flickr image does not contain the pointer in the LC record, since there was no comment on the image in Flickr.

It looks like LC continues to update its records based on Flickr user feedback, and they’re also creating links so people searching the LC catalog exclusively don’t miss out on the oftentimes rich discussion on Flickr. A search for “Source: Flickr Commons” yields 509 exact phrase hits, which is the portion which most likely represents actual updates to the catalog.

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2 Responses to “LC-Flickr: updating the catalog”

  1. Helena Zinkham Says:

    Clarification …
    Last August, the Library of Congress began to link the records in our local catalog to their counterparts in Flickr in order to point out where additional information might be available. We’re adding these hyperlinks in large batches, so the records loaded since August don’t yet have the link from LC to Flickr. The presence or absence of comments isn’t a factor.

    Thanks for continuing to explore the Flickr work!

    Helena Zinkham
    Acting Chief
    Prints & Photographs Div.
    Library of Congress

  2. GĂĽnter Waibel Says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Helena! I was hoping you’d jump in and set me straight. :-)