Archival Science

, 8:267 | Cite as

Smithsonian Team Flickr: a library, archives, and museums collaboration in web 2.0 space

  • Martin R. KalfatovicEmail author
  • Effie Kapsalis
  • Katherine P. Spiess
  • Anne Van Camp
  • Michael Edson
Original paper


The Flickr Commons was created as a forum for institutions to share their rich photographic collections with the emerging Web 2.0 audience of Flickr; the Smithsonian Institution was the fourth member of the Commons. The Smithsonian effort was a direct collaborative effort of the libraries, archives, museums, and information technology staff that generated new pathways for collaboration between these units. As the world’s largest museum complex, these Smithsonian units serve as a microcosm for collaboration in the information age. The Flickr Commons project provided insights into how the knowledge, skills, and abilities of libraries, archives, and museums (LAM) can converge in the Web 2.0 environment to provide collection access to new, and in some cases unknown, audiences. Simultaneously, by putting “LAM” content into an environment that allows for direct interaction by these audiences, the knowledge of the content for holding institutions is enriched. By exposing Smithsonian content within the Flickr environment, the Institution is learning what content is desired by the Web 2.0 world, how to bring crowd-sourcing into professionally curated collections, and how to bring diverse institutional skills together in a collaborative project.


Flickr Photography Smithsonian Collaboration Libraries Archives Museums 



The authors would like to thank the staff in our respective library, archive, and museum units who made the Smithsonian Flickr Commons a success, particularly James Felley, Lauryn Guttenplan, Feng-Yueh Huang, Darren Milligan, Erin C. Rushing, Ann Speyer, Michael Tuttle, Ching-Hsien Wang, Susannah Wells, and Naxin Wu. Brett Lambert, a participant in the Alberta Smithsonian Internship Program (ASIP) from the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta, provided invaluable assistance with the literature review and bibliographic citations. Smithsonian participation in the Flickr Commons, as well as the Commons itself would not be possible with out George Oates, formerly of Flickr, and her team at Flickr.


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Copyright information

©  US Government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin R. Kalfatovic
    • 1
    Email author
  • Effie Kapsalis
    • 2
  • Katherine P. Spiess
    • 3
  • Anne Van Camp
    • 4
  • Michael Edson
    • 3
  1. 1.Smithsonian Institution LibrariesSmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian Photography InitiativeSmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Office of the Chief Information OfficerSmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Smithsonian Institution ArchivesSmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA

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