Smithsonian adds photos to Flickr Commons

A Flickr project to house publicly held images is getting hundreds of photos from the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian Institution has begun adding historical photos to The Commons, Flickr's project to host publicly held images.

Felix Nadar is one subject among hundreds from the Smithsonian Institution now visible at Flickr.
Felix Nadar is one subject among hundreds from the Smithsonian Institution now visible at Flickr. Smithsonian

The Smithsonian added 800 photographs from its collection of 13 million images, and 1,200 more will be added in coming months, Yahoo said in a Thursday announcement.

"Our goals in participating in The Commons on Flickr are to expose new, larger, broader and younger audiences to our photographic collections and help them discover more of the Smithsonian educational resources," said Richard Kurin, the acting undersecretary for history, art, and culture, in a statement..

Flickr launched The Commons with the Library of Congress in January. It's also drawn interest from the Powerhouse Museum, which joined The Commons in April and said it's happy with the results it's seen.

Putting the photos on Flickr lets ordinary people add tags and other annotations. That can be good and bad: people can label historic buildings, but also clutter shots with inane notes such as the "daddy?" note on a photo of Albert Einstein and others.

Flickr is a prominent part of Yahoo, but changes are afoot at the site. Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, the husband-and-wife co-founders of Flickr, are leaving Yahoo .

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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