The Library of Congress, on Flickr.
January 16, 2008 11:54 AM   Subscribe

The Library of Congress, on Flickr.

They've posted some pretty amazing photographs. They're all free of any copyright, so you can use them for evil if you like. More details from the FlickrBlog.
posted by chunking express (23 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Okay. That's just cool. More info on the Library of Congress blog too.
...3,000 photos from two of our most popular collections are being made available on our new Flickr page, to include only images for which no copyright restrictions are known to exist.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:59 AM on January 16, 2008

Why only scan negatives to 1024 pixels wide?
posted by smackfu at 12:07 PM on January 16, 2008

Yeah the only upsetting thing about this is the resolution. Great find though.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:13 PM on January 16, 2008

I would imagine they are scanned at higher resolution, but posted to flickr at 1024.
posted by chunking express at 12:14 PM on January 16, 2008

Hey! I'm pretty sure that they stole all they stole all of their photographs from Shorpy!
posted by Dave Faris at 12:16 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

(he stuttered...)
posted by Dave Faris at 12:17 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

1930s-40s in color. Great stuff. (For some reason, I find the Woman aircraft worker haunting. Wonder if she's still alive?)

Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 12:31 PM on January 16, 2008

Hey, where did the last 90 minutes go?

Thanks so much, this is the stuff MeFi is for!*

*I say this authoritatively, of course.
posted by coolhappysteve at 1:00 PM on January 16, 2008

Very cool!

The resolution limit is a bit disappointing, particularly because Flickr will go much higher than that (what's the max, 30MB or so? I've put some big panos up there and haven't it it, so it must be high). But that's a pretty small complaint, particularly when they have the URLs to the actual LoC page for each photo in the description.

I guess what I like most about this is that it seems like an effort to actually get LoC content out to the public in a way that can be easily used and enjoyed. Having it available online at all is great, don't get me wrong, but having it in Flickr is a lot handier for most folks than having it only available through the LoC's site, where nobody will find the photos unless they're looking specifically.

I hope they do continue.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:07 PM on January 16, 2008

It's nice they're tagged too.
posted by smackfu at 1:13 PM on January 16, 2008

Speaking of the Library Congress, they tried to stomp out Scottish nationalism the other day.
posted by Atreides at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2008

For the Woman aircraft worker the LOC URL has the uncompressed TIFF for download (at 141MB). The resolution is 7788x6348, but IMHO the color doesn't look as good as the Flickr one.

Point is, hopefully that is large enough for anyone.
posted by sbutler at 1:54 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Very neat. As much as I've trolled the LOC archives, they are much easier to look at on the Flickr page.

The size limit must be just for posting. If you click through to the LOC site and then the page for a particular photo, you can get to the archival TIFF. The one I just looked at clocked in @ 138MB, so I think they've got pretty good resolution. I'm not sure the size.
posted by OmieWise at 1:57 PM on January 16, 2008

This is just great. I can't stop looking. This one is compelling.
posted by marxchivist at 2:00 PM on January 16, 2008

Very cool.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:51 PM on January 16, 2008

This one is compelling.

Is that Napoleon Dynamite?
posted by smackfu at 3:48 PM on January 16, 2008

It's worth noting that the aim of the project, apart from getting this fantastic imagery out there, is to get as many people as possible to tag these photos and help catalogue them. It's a bit like Galaxy Zoo in that respect. And damn is it a timesink! Fun though.
posted by garrett at 4:32 PM on January 16, 2008

I was wondering if money changed hands for this collaboration? I'm not even sure which out of flickr or LoC stand to gains more - hard to judge given the commercial -vs- public aims. There is a fair amount of effort from both ends. Does anyone know? (I read the official LoC flickr pilot page as well as the FAQ - no hint could I see) Just general curiosity. It is of course a wonderful development.

The pilot flickr commons program is seeking interest from further museums and libraries who wish to participate. "Our first task is to gauge demand. If you could let us know you're interested by sending an email to flickr-commons [at], we'll go from there."
posted by peacay at 4:54 PM on January 16, 2008

I miss America. These photos remind me of who we used to be.
posted by SPrintF at 7:04 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is SO cool!
posted by dejah420 at 7:15 PM on January 16, 2008

I was wondering if money changed hands for this collaboration?

Even if it's just $25 of our tax dollars per year going toward a pro account at flickr, it ain't a bad deal.
posted by puritycontrol at 8:39 PM on January 16, 2008

Breathtaking. This one is like a Vermeer, or a Rembrandt.

Thank you. Wonderful find.
posted by rtha at 8:41 PM on January 18, 2008

Coming back here to mention what sbutler already covered; I retract my previous disappointment, as I just spent 5 minutes downloading a 140 megabyte, uncompressed version of this photo, which they link to on the flickr page.

This is so fucking awesome.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:20 PM on January 18, 2008

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