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Library of Congress Photos on Flickr

The Library of Congress has amazing photograph collections, and they have recently made them even easier to explore. They have added large photograph collections to flickr (the same site that we use to share some of our library photos). This is their description of what they are adding:

“We are offering two sets of digitized photos: the 1,600 color images from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information and 1,500+ images from the George Grantham Bain News Service. Why these photos? They have long been popular with visitors to the Library; they have no known restrictions on publication or distribution, and they have high resolution scans. We look forward to learning what kinds of tags and comments these images inspire.”

You’ll see photographs taken in Brockton, Lowell, Lawrence, New Beford, and even a photo of the Provincetown Monument. You can see a shot of Fenway taken between 1910 and 1915.

With the launch of the Library of Congress pilot, Flickr began a new initiative called “The Commons.” Cultural heritage institutions that join The Commons are sharing images from their photographic collections that have no known copyright restrictions as a way to increase awareness of these collections with the general public. For more information on The Commons, see: www.flickr.com/commons

Which reminds me of a Massachusetts program called the Digital Commonwealth, featuring just collections from Massachusetts. Here is a description of that project:

“The Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a portal to the rich cultural heritage held in museums, historical societies, colleges, libraries and other cultural repositories in Massachusetts. From this site you can search or browse the digital collections of member institutions throughout the state for manuscripts, images, historical documents, and sound recordings. The portal provides you with enhanced access and retrieval of information. Digital Commonwealth is currently developing a repository service that will be available to its members as a hosting option for digital content.”

They have actually created some exhibits right online using the Commonwealth collections. Most recently: Fruits of Labor: Celebrating Work and Industry in Massachusetts. Take a look.

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