OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU Archives becomes among nation’s first institutions to join ‘Flickr Commons’

02/24/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In celebration of the state of Oregon’s 150th birthday, the Oregon State University Archives has become the 21st institution to join the Flickr Commons, a new online project aimed at increasing access to important publicly held photography collections around the world.

The OSU Archives is already in exceptional company – other initial participants include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Library of New Zealand, the George Eastman House, the New York Public Library and Bibliothèque de Toulouse. OSU is the first university to join the Commons.

Flickr, one of the world’s most well-known and well-used online photo management and sharing applications, launched Flickr Commons in January 2008 with nearly 3,000 images from two Library of Congress photographic collections. The idea was not only to provide a digital space where photographic treasures could be shown off, but for the public to contribute historic knowledge to compliment information that participating institutions already had for these images, thereby creating even richer collections.

OSU’s initial contribution to the Flickr Commons is a grouping of 117 Civilian Conservation Corps images from the Gerald W. Williams Collection. The Williams collection includes more than 24,000 photographs in formats ranging from postcards to glass lantern slides and focusing on OSU’s history of conservation and forestry. Having these images side-by-side with those from other collections helps add context to the OSU photographs, said University Archivist Larry Landis.

“The Civilian Conservation Corps images have been popular in other digital presentation formats. Most were taken by U.S. Forest Service photographers, and their skill shows in the quality of the images,” said Landis. “They parallel the photos from the Depression-era Farm Security Administration that the Library of Congress has on its Flickr Commons site.”

OSU Archives will be releasing other images in its digital collections, with a special focus on images that illustrate the complicated intersection of culture, natural resources and history.