Archive for the ‘Photo Sharing’ category


May 17, 2007

UPDATE: Additional links

flickrvision – real time view of images uploaded to Flickr. The location is where the image was uploaded from.

Examples of embedding images from a photo-sharing site. It includes two sizes of a Google slide show, and three versions of a Flickr badge.

Some Observations About Photo-sharing

I provide a sample of links to discussions about on-line photo-sharing below, and you can see that it has been well covered in the blogosphere. Why am I contributing to the discussion now? Simply, we haven’t discussed it here and the primary purpose of this blog is to present applications that could be of use in our library.

There are billions of images stored in on-line photo-sharing services. As of now, as I type this sentence, PhotoBucket has 2.85 billion images and Yahoo Photos also has over two billion images. Photo-sharing services range from the simple “here they are, come look at them, and maybe buy some prints” to services that have sophisticated searching, secret algorithms to create subject clusters and most interesting rankings based on viewer habits, the capability to assign levels of permission for the use of images, send images to other services such as blogs, and organize images in ways meaningful to the creator.

I mentioned Yahoo Photos in the last paragraph. Yahoo also owns Flickr and recently announced that Yahoo Photos is being phased out in favor of Flickr. Flickr had only 500 million images but has been growing faster than Yahoo Photos. Yahoo is taking an interesting approach to their existing Photos accounts. With one touch, the photos of Yahoo members can be moved to a Flickr account. Yahoo will help those who choose to not to take the Flickr option to move their images to another service, such as PhotoBucket. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Flickr has restrictions on the number of images that can be displayed in an free account and restricts the number of images that can be uploaded per month. Yahoo Photos didn’t have that restriction.

In other industry changes, MySpace just bought PhotoBucket. PhotoBucket is the main supplier of photos to MySpace.

Basic accounts are free so it is easy to test drive before you commit. You could also maintain several accounts. Perhaps you want one account just to share photos with family and friends and another where you keep all your photos.

Which Photo-sharing service do I like?

There are three services that stand out for me: Flickr, Zooomr, and Picasa. Flickr is owned by Yahoo. Zooomr appeared in 2006 and is looked by industry pundits as a serious rival to Flickr. I believe the founder was 17 at the time. Picasa is owned by Google and thus fits into their suite of services available with a single login. Picasa also has a desktop client that allows you to organize and modify images which you can selectively upload.

In terms of number of web features, Flikr is first, then Zooomr, then Picasa. Of the three, only Zooomr doesn’t have a print purchase service. All three have free and pro accounts. Zooomr has nifty approach with pro accounts: You can get a free pro account if you are a blogger. I started a pro account with Flickr but I’m watching Zooomr.

What’s Interesting About Photo-sharing

People like to look at pictures. People want to share photos with friends and family. People might wonder if other people will like their photographs. OK, granted, these by themselves are not all that interesting. What about making connections? I have several photographs take when I was stationed in Viet Nam. Someone searched on my unit designation and found my photos. He gave me information about what happened to my unit after I left. This is part of what intrigues me about photo-sharing, the added value that on-line photo-sharing can bring to an image. This value is twofold. First, people can add tags, comments, notes, locations on maps to their work and, in some cases the work of others – metadata. Second, the photo-sharing site can take all the information provided by people about an image, mix in what they can determine about how users interact with images and other users, and develop ways of ranking and clustering images. The end result is that access to the image is not static but dynamic and made much more accessible. Flickr is the only service that I know of that takes metadata and combines it with user behaviors to produce a feature that guides a person to other images they may like.

Consider tagging, a concept librarians are trying to come to terms with – people providing their own descriptive terms for an item and not using a controlled vocabulary. A lot of photo-sharing services allow the owner to tag an image. Flickr allows a member to grant permission to tag to friends, family, or everyone. When everyone can tag, you get interesting interpretations of a work. For example, let’s say I post a photograph of my cat and I tag it “cat.” Someone else might view the photograph and notice the cat’s whiskers and add the “whisker” tag. Is the cat asleep? On its back? Is there a marking on the nose? All of these are legitimate descriptors from someone’s point of view. Access to this image has been greatly extended. Tim Spalding over at LibraryThing makes a similar point about tagging books. Bridgit Jones’s Diary is tagged with the non-LCSH term “Chic Lit.” That term is used by other people for other titles. Searching for the tag Chic Lit” will get the user a bibliography of book in this user defined genre. Tim has interesting things to say about tagging. Take a look at When tags work and when they don’t: Amazon and LibraryThing and Percent who tag. It will be interesting to seeif/when tagging makes the jump to traditional library services, such as the catalog.

Flickr is the standout service for librarians. I believe this is true because Flickr adds the most value to an image and provides the most access points to an image.

We want to find ways to direct people to our services. Is Flicker a means to that end?

Value Added to Images Through On-Line Photo-Sharing: a Flick-centric Look

I will indicate which service does not have a feature by using -F, -Z, and -P for Flickr, Zooomr, and Picasa.

  • Share images on-line
    • Public, private, to selected groups such as friends and family
  • allow users to define what the image means to them through tagging
  • add a comment to an image
  • add notes to areas of an image (-P)
  • mark image as a favorite (-P limited to members, not individual images)
  • be alerted when new images are added
  • make the images available to other services such as blogs
  • place an image on a map (geo tagging)
  • advanced searching capabilities (-Z, -P)
  • dynamically generate tag clusters(-Z, -P)
  • dynamically determine how interesting an image might be to viewers (-Z, -P)
  • Create groups (-Z, -P)
  • Place image on map
  • Create slide shows (-Z)
    • Picasa provides code for embedding flash slideshow
    • Flickr doesn’t officially support embedding slideshows on other sites
  • Assign Creative Commons license to an image (-P)
    • Flickr has a search filter to limit search results to images with a CC license

Discussion About Photo Sharing

Discussions about Flickr in Libraries

Examples of Flickr in Libraries

Photo Sharing Sites – A sampling


Creative Commons

November 19, 2006


Originally uploaded by Dr Stephen Dann.

Pop Quiz: How many readers can explain Creative Commons and list the 4 types of CC license? What percentage of the William and Mary population could answer these questions?

I was listening to the Talking with Tallis podcast on The Library 2.0 Gang on Open Access and Web3.0 and Janie Hermann from the Princeton Public Library commented on this very feature within Flickr. Do you need a picture of a pygmy marmoset? You have 43 choices. She said a lot more in suport of teaching Flickr to the public and I recommend you give the podcast a listen. There is a lot of substance here. This lead me to wonder how many of our students, faculty, and staff know about Creative Commons. Rrelated to this — if they don’t know, how do we tell them? Should we find a way to acquaint them with Creative Commons? If anyone has an opinion, leave a comment.

Flickr is a particularly rich site for images but you can also go to the Creative Commons site itself. They have a Creative commons search engine that allows you to send your search through a variety of sources including Google, Yahoo, flickr, and Owl Music Search.

I have a personal experience to relate regarding Creative Commons. I had occasion to to look for a photograph that I could legally use. I wandered around on the Internet until I remembered having read in another bog that Flickr identifies pictures that have been assigned a Creative commons license. Sure enough, you will see the creative commons symbols for attribution, noncommercial, no derivatives, and share alike where the creator has added a Creative Commons license to their work. Flickr makes it easy to search for items based on the type of license assigned. They have a Creative Commons page which briefly describes the kinds of licenses and provides searches within each category. Also, from the advanced search screen you can limit your search to those images with a Creative commons license and further specify if you want to be able to use it commercially and use it as part of a larger work. What did I find in my search? It is the photograph you see at the start of this post — Halo by Dr. Stephen Dunn. The cat is Bert, an Abyssinian short-hair who lived in Australia until he, as Kinky Friedman would say, “stepped on a rainbow.”

What’s On My Desktop

June 26, 2006

With all writing we have been doing on social software and web 2.0 I though I would share what I’m actually using on my desktop. This list changes often and I’ll update it periodically. I hope you will leave comments if you have a favorite that I didn’t include or I left out some important feature/disadvantage in my descriptions. & tag — Before it was a chore for me to remember where I found a website. I would bookmark the site then promptly forget where I saved it. With, I can add tags to identify key subject areas. When you add a site to you get a screen where you can add tags and a description. tells you how many other people have bookmarked a site and you can see what tags they used. When you click on the link saved by nn other people you will see the tags they used for the web site as well as their comments. I have used this social aspect of to locate related web pages. There are many ways to use this social aspect of A professor told me recently that he applies a class tag to sites he wants his students to visit. He give them a URL to his account with the tag filter in place and they get, in effect, a citation list. Librarians could do the same for subject guides. Your list is in last-in-first-out order which may be annoying if a site you visit frequently was one of the first added. You can filter by tags so it is managable. There are alternatives such as I am considering a switch to Magnolia. This service carries the social software aspect further along by allowing you to join and create groups. I also like the screen layout in Magnolia. does have a larger number of users so the social network is larger. I plan to use both services for a while. If you really want to look at social bookmarking, WikiPedia has a nice article and a Google search for “social bookmarking.”.

bloglines/subscribe to bloglines — for me, blogs are a major source of information about library and technical issues, trends, problems, concerns, and news. RSS feeds and RSS aggregators are an effective way to manage subscriptions. Before I discovered the beauty and efficiency of RSS, I would bookmark a site in a FireFox folder. Every day I would work my way down the list. A good aggregator will tell you if there are new posts and how many new posts. Your list of subscriptions is fixed in one panel and the blog posts appear in another. No more going back and forth between the website and your bookmarks. Your subscriptions are stored on a Bloglines server so you can get to them from any PC. Bloglines works well for me but you might also look at alternatives. Here is a nice RSS compendium. You’ll find both web-based and PC based reader/aggregators.

Gaim — Gaim is an open source instant messaging client available from Sourceforge. It supports multiple protocols inlcuding AIM, Yahoo, and Jabber. It is a good, solid client for IMing. Like other single front-end clients, you don’t get the bells and whistles that you would have with a service specific product such as AOL. It really depends on how you use IM. there is nothing to say that you can’t have multiple clients installed. Trillian is another single front-end IM client. It has some features not present in Gaim such as automatically saving a chat session to disk.

CiteULike and Connotea — These two services are citation managers. One of their primary finctions is to store links to articles with bibliographic information. I still testing both of these services.

CiteULike is marketed to academics and helps “academics to share, store, and organise the academic papers they are reading.” As with other social software, you can apply tags and see the articles to which other users have applied the same tag. CiteULike has supported sources. this means that if you find an article on one of these supported sites and post it to your account, it will carry over the journal citatioin with it. The supported sites include Amazon, JSTOR, HighWire Press, Nature, Science, ScienceDirect, SpringerLink, and Wiley Interscience. If you post an article from another site you have the opportunity to fill in the citation information.CiteULike also has a feature to export to EndNote

Connotea is a bit more like in that it also markets itself as a service to bookmark websites as well as articles. As I write this I tried to go to connotea and got a message that it is unavailable due to very high load. That’s annoying. Ah, it’s back. Connotea also has sites that it recognizes and will autumaticall pull in the bibliographic informaiton. The list isn’t as extensive as CiteULike but I imagine that will change. Connotea would like to be your one-stop reference center. Right now I am leaning towards CiteULike but I recommend you try both services.

Flickr — Flickr is a hugely popular site for storing and sharing your photographs. As with other social software you can tag your images and search for other images with the same tag. A handy little Upload to Flickr client is available. You can also create and join groups. As Wayne snarkily pointed out in a comment to another posting, I failed to mention that Swem has a group on Flickr. Take a look at it here. There are other library related groups. For example, Libraries and Librarians Group Photo Pool. Google has just introduced Picasa Web Albums which has some of the same features as Flickr. It uses the desktop Picasa application to upload web albums.

ZohoShow — This is in my try-it-out-sometime group. zohoshow allows you to create, edit, and show presentations. You can load existing PowerPoint and Open Office presentation. There is a 1 Mb size limit for uploads which might limit this feature. You can also import pictures from your Flickr account. You can invite participants to view and control the show remotely. I can see it as a handy tool for for committees with distant members. You could combine it with voice over IP or IM chat to make it interactive.

LibraryThing — This is a service for cataloging your personal library materials. Right now it is in my fun group of services but it has larger potential. You can tag you books, search for other items with the sam tags, find another user who seems to have similar tastes and see what he/she has in his/her library, write reviews. The folks at LibraryThing are intersted in reaching out to traditional library services.

StumbleUpon — This is a fun site for idle moments. You can select a category then stumble through random web sites. Tag a site as being of interest, see who else is interested in the site. I’ve found some gems this way.

This has gone on long enough so I am going to stop here. The problem, for me, is that I start looking at a web service which leads me to a similar web service which I then have to try by creating accounts on those new services. Remeber what I said in and earlier post about developing a standard naming convention for user accounts. It comes in handy.