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Friday, December 10, 2021

The Future of Flickr's The Commons

Flickr's The Commons has been one of my go-to resources for historical imagery since I first wrote about it nearly fourteen years ago. That's why my heart sank a little bit when I visited The Commons earlier this week and saw a note that read "learn more about the future of Flickr Commons." Whenever I see notes like that on favorite websites that have been around for a long time, I expect bad news. Fortunately, this time there was good news. 

Flickr has made a commitment to reinvigorate and revitalize The Commons. The first step in that process appears to be creating a new home for The Commons. That new home is at The Flickr Foundation found at Flickr.org. It's there that you can read the full plan for the future of The Commons. The plan is published as a series of Google Documents and a Google Slides presentation.

The key takeaways for teachers and students who use The Commons are:

  • It's not going away. 
  • It's going to be improved with better discovery tools.
  • It's going to be improved with better descriptions (which will help with discovery).
  • Content contribution opportunities will improve (expanding the collection). 
Applications for Education
The bottomline is that Flickr's The Commons is a great resource for history teachers who want to find historical imagery to use in their lessons. It's also a great place for students to find historical imagery to use in research presentations. Over the next couple of years The Commons should improve to make it a better resource than ever before.