The Chronicle reported last week about the “public response” to the Library of Congress putting a large collection of photographs on the popular commercial photo site Flickr. Like other collections on Flickr, users will be tagging and commenting on the photos, which is a real research process of value to all users. It’s the kind of work we might have referred to as drudge work in the past, imagining some lonely, nearsighted academic hunched over boxes of photos, trying to catalog them by hand. Now, the world is full of ordinary users doing it as a matter-of-fact task. What a world, eh?
Have you ever searched any of the LOC collections for photos to use in your electronic projects? You will find many photos that are not copyright protected–government documents are not copyrighted, unless noted. I used the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information collection to find a suitable period photo of miners for a class Web project on American Labor Crises. I only used one photo, and noted the copyright disclaimer. You might find such a collection useful or just interesting on your lunch break.