The Commons was launched on January 16, 2008, by Flickr with the release of nearly 3,000 photographs from two popular Library of Congress collections. The stated aims of the Commons project are to increase the public’s access to publicly held photography collections in civic institutions around the world and to provide a way for the public to contribute historical data pertaining to the collections.
More than a dozen museums, public libraries, and other cultural heritage and educational institutions such as EducatetheUSA and others from around the world have joined The Commons, releasing over 12,000 images to be perused, tagged, and researched by the public.
The Flickr group Flickr Commons was created by Anna Graf in December 2008 to celebrate The Commons with other Commons fans and to increase awareness of and participation in The Commons within Flickr.
Flickr members and Commons member institution staff use the Flickr Commons group to discuss and learn more about The Commons, to demonstrate ways they have been using The Commons, and to imagine future possibilities for the project.
The Indicommons blog represents outreach from the Flickr Commons group beyond Flickr, to broaden knowledge of The Commons among the public and civic institutions around the world and to increase participation by the public in the Commons.
The name, Indicommons (pronounced “in de commons”) derives from the Latin indico, to make publicly known, and commons, the old English word chosen by Flickr for its Commons project, meaning the land held in common by the people of a town.
Indicommons writers are inspired by The Commons and by interactions in the Flickr Commons group, and welcome related news and ideas from outside the Flickr and Commons communities.
Why is The Commons important to the public?
The Commons represents our shared visual heritage. Our culture is enriched by the release of these historical photographs and further enriched by the public’s participation in the collection and aggregation of related historical information.
The Commons also expands creative freedom and enriches culture by pushing cultural media outside of the confines and limitation of physical media and by making this media available with, as is stated on each Commons photo page, “no known copyright restrictions.” The results of this expansion include remixes and mashups of Commons collections.
Why is The Commons important to educators?
The Commons provides educators and their students a wealth of historical imagery and information from around the world. It also allows educators and their students to participate in historical research and tagging.
The Commons Institutions
Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons
Australian War Memorial collection
Bergen Public Library
Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Bibliotheque de Toulouse
Center for Jewish History, NYC
Cornell University Library
DC Public Library Commons
The Field Museum Library
Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane
Galt Museum & Archives on The Commons
George Eastman House
Getty Research Institute
Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest
Keene and Cheshire County (NH) Historical Photos
The Library of Congress
The Library of Virginia
Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavík Museum of
LlGC ~ NLW
Museum of Hartlepool
Museum of Photographic Arts Collections
Musée McCord Museum
NASA on The Commons
The National Archives UK
National Galleries of Scotland Commons
National Library NZ on The Commons
National Library of Australia Commons
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
National Library of Scotland
National Maritime Museum
National Media Museum
New York Public Library
OSU Special Collections & Archives: Commons
Powerhouse Museum Collection
Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway)
The Royal Library, Denmark
San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives
SMU Central University Libraries
State Library and Archives of Florida
State Library of New South Wales collection
State Library of Queensland, Australia
Stockholm Transport Museum Commons
Swedish National Heritage Board
Texas State Archives
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
The U.S. National Archives
UA Archives | Upper Arlington History
UW Digital Collections
Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Archives