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Crossing the 1000 in the Commons

A little while back we crossed the 1000 image mark for our uploads of historic images to the Commons on Flickr.

We’ve just started adding a third distinct collection of images – the Phillips Collection (which joins the Tyrrell and Clyde collections). The Phillips Collection is another set of glass plate negatives taken between 1890 and 1920. We are uploading roughly 10 Phillips images a week and 25 Tyrrell images a week with Clyde images going up less regularly.

Paula Bray, our Image Services Manager writes

This collection of approximately 200 glass plate negatives appears to have be made by a photographic studio from around 1890 through to 1920. Some of the subjects in this collection include portraits, costumes, recreational activities, fencing, women boxing, the Blue Mountains and city scenes. The collection was donated by Raymond Phillips and, although not confirmed, it may be his father who was the photographer. There are some clues we have come across whilst scanning this collection that may prove this but we might let you discover these as we post more over the coming weeks. There are many people featured in these images that reappear in other scenes. Perhaps they were family members.

Paula will be delivering a paper at Museums and the Web 2009 looking specifically at the impact of the Commons on the Powerhouse as well as on image sales. Early evidence suggests that image sales are actually up on last year for the very same images that we have placed in the Commons.

7 replies on “Crossing the 1000 in the Commons”

Thanks for this – do you see this as a potential form of revenue in the future, ie pushing low-res content to sites like Flickr and selling high-res ones via the PHM website?


I think it does raise the question of how we provide access to our images and content especially to benefit the education sector. This project has been influential in that we are re-thinking the way we license our images and provide access to our content but this is not being driven by the slight increase in income through the high-res files, even though it is an interesting outcome.

Thanks Paula. Commercialisation and the web is something I’m looking at in detail at the moment, so your comments are useful. My view is the back-end processes need to be sorted very well with regards to image sales before you could even go live with it. Does the PHM, or do you know of anyone, who is doing this well?? Maybe the AWM??

Hi Lynda…yes I think you are right. There are a lot of issues that have to be tackled including policy. I think the model of the V&A is interesting in that they make the divide between educational and commercial use quite wide. They provide files for the purpose of research and study for fee but also offer high quality fine art prints etc for their income stream. I think we need to widen our gaps between the two areas.

As regards commercialisation it might be worth considering whether the cultural sector has any examples of truly ‘profitable’ image sales services – especially once you count the staffing costs.

I blogged earlier mentioning the WIPO Report which has some interesting information and case studies on these issues.

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