Archive for April, 2010

Bean field under cultivation, Seabrook Farm, Bridgeton, N.J. (LOC)

Posted by Nina in Best of The Commons
Bean field under cultivation, Seabrook Farm, Bridgeton, N.J. (LOC)

Collier, John, 1913-, photographer.
Bean field under cultivation, Seabrook Farm, Bridgeton, N.J. (LOC),
1942[?] June
Library of Congress: LC-USF35-551

view + comment on Flickr

Happy Commonsversary to the Field Museum!

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Anniversaries

Today Indicommons celebrates the Field Museum’s first — and full — year in the Flickr Commons. The Field Museum began in the Commons with a focus on the museum itself, then enlarged that to a focus on the city of Chicago, and then moved farther out to focus on museum research expeditions — creating an exciting collection for historians of anthropology and of museums themselves.

Beginning with the Museum …

The Field Museum’s sets focusing on the museum from 1894 to 1922 — The Field Columbian Museum, The early museum, and Moving the Field Museum in 1920 — are all historically interesting. The first set in particular invites the question, what were museums once like compared with the museums we know today? how much as changed, and how much hasn’t?
American Elk, turtle, alligator
Among the Field Museum’s Chicago-focused sets, the 303-image set on the 1892 World’s Columbian Exposition has prompted some of the most exciting user activity. Here on Indicommons, we’ve published Penny’s “Craft Cabin” cards based on the Exposition’s ferris wheel. And, along with other Columbian Exposition photographs from other Commons institutions, we surveyed the Exposition. If you missed it back then, you might want to check it out again, for the links to a reconstructed panorama, a Google Earth map, and a browser plug-in map!
Along the Plaisance
(Not an Expo fan? Maybe you prefer Flower Children!)
Girl in flower costume

The Field Museum’s Commons Expeditions have taken us to Argentina, Panama, Africa, Guyana, Peru, Central America and Mexico in search of more knowledge of rocks, plans, animals, and the people encountered on the way. These underexplored (by Commons standards) collections are truly remarkable. Here’s just a small sampling of what is to be discovered among them:

Honey storage inside tree trunk (British East Africa, 1906)

Woman with fruit specimen (British Guiana, 1922)

Vendor of sweets in San Juan (Puerto Rico, 1899)

Man in field with a wooden device (Peru, 1923)

Rudolf Stahlecker at Pronothrotherium prospect (Argentina, 1926)

Two-toed anteater balanced on a stick (Panama, 1928)

Happy first anniversary in the Commons to the Field Museum and its staff!

Craft Cabin: How to Chalk Your Favorite Commons Images!

Posted by Penny in Articles

Sunny weekends are here (or on their way, anyway), and they bring the return of the Indicommons Craft Cabin–fun stuff to do with the images in Flickr Commons. Today, chalk art! It’s fun, it’s public, and it’s not all that hard to get an image that’ll bring a smile to passersby–at least until the next rain shower.

1. Start by choosing an image you’d like to chalk.
Don’t expect to be able to get an exact image–chalk isn’t very precise–but look for something fun to spend time with. A black and white image is okay–you can add colors as you please. I’m going to start with this one: silent film comedians Billy Quirk and Josie Sadler, from the New York Public Library uploads:

2. Now use tracing paper to make a sketch of the image’s main elements, and draw a grid over the image:

Tracing paper, pencil, marker

Tracing paper, pencil, marker

3. Draw the grid on the sidewalk (sufficiently multiplied for a larger space) with chalk, and sketch in the major elements according to your diagram:
Chalked Billy & Josie, #1

4. Color in large areas with fat “sidewalk chalk” to get a nice base layer down:
Chalked Billy & Josie, #3

5. Then go back in and add details and shading and fine-tune the colors with denser chalk pastels:
Chalked Billy & Josie, #6
That’s it! Chalk art can take a while–this was about 150 minutes from start to finish–but it’s fun to be outside and creating. What Flickr Commons image will you chalk?

100 Years Ago Today: Preparing the Florida for Launch

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Today in the Commons
Uncle Sam's newest dreadnought, The Florida, which will be launched next month

New York Tribune
Uncle Sam’s newest dreadnought, The Florida, which will be launched next month, April 24, 1910
Library of Congress:

Caribou Shed Their Antlers Annually …

Posted by Nina in Best of The Commons
Caribou Shed Their Antlers Annually; They Can Be Found Almost Anywhere on the North Slope, Or Here, in the Atigun Valley the Site of Pump Station #4 Appears on the Skyline of the Hill in the Background 08/1973

Cowals, Dennis, 1945-
Caribou Shed Their Antlers Annually; They Can Be Found Almost Anywhere on the North Slope, Or Here, in the Atigun Valley the Site of Pump Station #4 Appears on the Skyline of the Hill in the Background 08/1973,
The U.S. National Archives: 412-DA-8010

view + comment on Flickr

Happy Earth Day

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in News

From the U.S. National Archives and Indicommons …

Earth, as Seen by Astronauts Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmidt from Apollo 17, December 1972

The Earth, in the Commons:

Recent Uploads to the Commons

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Recent Uploads
The National Library of Wales adds more to its Geoff Charles collection, including from a 1959 election and illegal Welsh broadcasting.
Plaid Cymru broadcasting “Radio Wales” illegally for the first time in North Wales
George Eastman House has uploaded photographs by
Timothy Sullivan, Eadweard J. Muybridge, William Henry Jackson, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Julia Margaret Cameron — a treasure trove of photographic history in miniature, including a photograph of the execution of the Lincoln conspirators (Flickr login required).

Lace (William Henry Fox Talbot, c. 1845)
Nationaal Archief’s set of photographs from the 1945 liberation of Holland stirs the heart of this daughter-in-law and granddaughter of men who participated in that liberation, though it is not an easy set to look through.
Allied planes over Holland
The Field Museum has uploaded a large set of photographs from botany expeditions to Peru.
Family at Piedra Grande
The Brooklyn Museum heads to Pisa, Italy, to visit cathedrals.
Cathedral, Pisa, Italy, 1910.
Upper Arlington Archives has been posting matching pairs of photographs of houses (with street addresses) and the people who lived in them — start with a portrait, start with a house, or just wend your way through the photostream in pairs.
1972 Tremont Road
The Bergen Public Library is off to the fair—in 1928.
The Hansa bottle
The Swedish National Heritage Board has been wandering through Central Europe.
Banya Bashi Mosque and minaret in Sofia, Bulgaria
The lights are on at night in the Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian photostream.
Reclame luminoso, Lisboa, Portugal
Oregon State University Archives is exploring lakes and mountains.
Horseshoe Bend
The records keep falling at the State Library and Archives of Florida!
Mrs. Nannie Boaz poses with her catch of 40-pound sailfish in the boat: Daytona Beach, Florida
The Library of Congress’s 1910s Bain Collection grows, with Zeppelins, brides, and ball player. Plus there’s a new set introducing more of the LOC’s Prints & Photographs collection, including Ukiyo-e and WPA posters.
Fusion Tag Girls

Happy Commonsversary to the DC Public Library!

Posted by Nina in News

Today, we are celebrating the first anniversary of the DC Public Library in the Flickr Commons.

In 1944, the DC Public Library purchased photographer E.B. Thompson’s collection of images of Washington, DC. This collection included more than 1,800 lantern slides and glass plate negatives.

Starting in 1946 the DC Public Library contracted with the Library of Congress to create 8×10 black and white prints on mounts from his collection of slides and negatives. The prints are now part of the Washington, DC, Historical Image Collection in the Washingtoniana Division.

The strength of this collection lies “in its images of federal buildings, the Arlington National Cemetery, federal memorials, national parades, historic houses, and street scenes.” DCPL’s collection is very rich in photographs of historic buildings and national monuments. However, there is a notable amount of images of people and street scenes, too.

DCPL held a very exciting “Then and Now” Commons-themed contest. Please be sure to view the winning entry here.

The DC Public Library’s photostream consists of eight sets. Two of these sets represent photographs taken by E.B. Thompson. There is a total of 306 photographs in these two sets.

From the set “All Uploaded E.B. Thompson Photos” is this photograph of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, ca 1925.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
There is a set of second batch of E.B. Thompson photos in which there is a “Canoe Race!”
Canoe Race!
This photograph of the of the Library of Congress (ca. 1900) is from the “Buildings” set.
Library of Congress
Also, from the “Buildings” set is this photograph of the north lawn of the White House, taken ca. 1860.
White House


Elsie Betts, 1976

Posted by Nina in Best of The Commons
Elsie Betts, 1976

Terry Swan
Elsie Betts, 1976

view + comment on Flickr

Some reading material from Museums & the Web 2010

Posted by zyrcster in News
Work with schools, city history clubs : history club meeting...

Lewis Wickes Hine
Work with schools, city history clubs : history club meeting… 1910s
New York Public Library: 434285

Here at Indicommons, we’ve been following the Museums and the Web 2010 conference in Denver, Colorado, via Twitter. Here’s a short round-up of papers of interest to The Commons being presented there this week.

Buckets and Vessels by Aaron Straup Cope:

With the mass of digital “stuff” growing around us every day and simple tools for self-organization evolving beyond individuals into communities of suggestions, is the curatorial prerogative itself becoming a social object?

This paper examines the act of association, the art of framing and the participatory nature of robots in creating artifacts and story-telling in projects like Flickr Galleries, the API-based Suggestify project (which provides the ability to suggest locations for other people’s photos) and the increasing number of bespoke (and often paper-based) curatorial productions.

Aaron also led a workshop called Machine Tags: Theory, Working Code and Gotchas (and Robots!)

Common Ground: A Community-Curated Meetup Case Study by Paula Bray and Ryan Donahue:

Why do institutions and on-line communities want to participate in face-to-face meetups such as Common Ground: a community curated meetup? Does this type of experience provide a deeper engagement with audiences and give institutions an opportunity to learn from these experiences? What are we finding in the process?

Can Structured Metadata Play Nice with Tagging Systems? Parsing New Meanings from Classification-Based Descriptions on Flickr by Joseph B. Dalton:

This paper discusses the rationale behind NYPL’s decision to combine existing metadata – in the form of subject headings – with user-generated tags, and demonstrates some of the challenges, benefits and drawbacks for institutions that may be interested in using similar approaches for their own collections.

Flickr as Platform: Astronomy Photographer of the Year by Fiona Romeo and Natasha Waterson:

Variously described as “wonders of the cosmos” (Daily Mail, 2009l) and “the best space porn of the year” (Davis, 2009), Astronomy Photographer of the Year is an annual competition and exhibition organised by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

This paper will outline how we used the Flickr platform to reach new visitors, build a community of practice, develop an innovative standard for identifying and locating astronomy photographs (’astrotagging’), shortlist and judge competition entries, develop an on-gallery interactive showcasing all contributed photographs, and repurpose user-generated content for exhibition labels.

According to Flickr’s developers, “the integration is so seamless… you might as well consider Flickr to be their ‘backend’ serve.” (Kandalgaonkar, 2009).

Museum Commons. Tragedy or Enlightened Self-Interest? This last paper of interest has no true connection with The Commons on Flickr, however it raises and answers a fundamental question regarding the concept of a museum commons.

There has been an exciting surge of interest in the museum sector in expanding access to museum data through the classic idea of creating a commons. A Web-based multi-institutional museum commons could open up public access to collections, deepening contextual knowledge of objects and helping museum professionals recognize the unseen value of their own collections. For example, collections items that seem orphaned or fragmentary in one institution may enjoy a rich life on-line, once reunited with relevant collections and data from other institutions in an on-line commons environment. Commons-oriented intellectual property policies should also enable content sharing for educational and other non-commercial uses, or they may be used to facilitate new innovations or for-profit businesses beyond the scope of traditional rights-and-reproductions activities.

You might also enjoy scrolling back through the social media advice (@edmj/museum-socialmedia-advice) from MW2010’s unconference tweets!

There are plenty more papers to read; we’d love to hear what words of wisdom you found in them!