Monday, April 7, 2014

Experts' interviews: Flickr

Technology: Flickr
Context: Promotional and outreach tool for special collections, art libraries, and rare books repositories
Audience: Researchers and general public, discovering among visual material and primary sources

My technology analysis is about Flickr and the use of this service for promotional and outreach purposes in the academic and research institutions. Instead of having one half of an hour personal interview, and after receiving a positive response from even four experts, I decided to initiate an online brief questionnaire among them. I have had an online interview with two Digital Service Librarians, a Public Service Librarian, and an Image & Media Archivist at UW-Madison who expressed a genuine interest in sharing their experience working with Flickr. 

I am very grateful to these four experts for expressing their insightful viewpoint on the use and  suitability of Flickr for promoting and sharing institution’s collections. All my interviewees agreed that it undoubtedly has a great potential for outreach projects and promotional campaign. I received the same reaction from librarians who actively used images from their collections for uploading on Flickr and social media interaction with them or for delivering this content to the places where their users might be, by embedding links in Wikipedia articles or marketing purposes on institution’s social media.

Librarians who didn’t work personally with their own institution’s image collections, however had occasions in their professional experience when they worked pretty closely with visual materials for either reference questions on the art, architecture, and art history or have taught students of the different academic fields’ on the proper search in or citation of Flickr Commons collections.   
Not considering Flickr service a substitution for the regular institution's digital repositories, my interviewees put a lot of efforts in detailed describing of images they ever uploaded, whether this was the use of all available Flickr’s metadata fields or cross reference to the existing metadata in their own institution collections.   

On a side note of the actual interview answers, I found it fascinating how quickly I was able to receive these four professional expert opinions. This certainly once again proved for me Clay Shirky’s point in this week's article that “community of practice are inherently cooperative” and that’s where there is a premise for their growth.

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