Michelle Springer, Beth Dulabahn, Phil Michel, Barbara Natanson, David Reser, David Woodward, and Helena Zinkham over at the Library of Congress have (publicly) released a very in-depth report on their experiences in the Commons on Flickr over a 10 month period.
Titled “For the Common Good: The Library of Congress Flickr Pilot Project” it explores the impacts of the project on access and awareness, traffic back to the LoC’s own website, and, importantly, what they have learned about how collections might operate in the broader social web. Given that their pilot was born of a need to explore the opportunities and challenges of the social web, their findings are important reading for every institution that is dipping their toes in the water.
The Flickr project increases awareness of the Library and its collections; sparks creative interaction with collections; provides LC staff with experience with social tagging and Web 2.0 community input; and provides leadership to cultural heritage and government communities.
I am impressed by the depth of the report and the recommendations. Critically they have identified the resourcing issues around ‘getting the most out of it’ and broken these down as a series of options (see page 34).
Even to maintain their current involvement in the project, they have identified a need to increase resourcing. They also identify that ‘just as is’ is no longer enough.
(2) Continue “as is” – add 50 photos/week and moderate account.
Pro: Modest expense to expand to 1.5 FTE from current 1 FTE (shared by OSI
and LS among 20 staff). Additional .5 FTE needed to keep up with the
amount of user-generated content on a growing account—both in
moderation and in changes to the catalog records (both in Flickr and PPOC).
Con: Loss of opportunity to engage even more people with Library’s visual
collections. Risk of losing attention from a Web 2.0 community that expects new and different content and interaction as often as possible.
Download and read the full report (PDF).