Category Archives: Flickr Rocks My World

Flickr Photos and Photo releases


Contenders DDR, originally uploaded by Lester Public Library.

Please read this post and the comments at LiB:

The one major goal (and you probably already guessed it) is the requirement to have a signed photo release form from anyone who is identifiable in any photos of using the library’s services, in the library, outside the library, anywhere. I know libraries that require releases only for photos with 5 or less people in them. I know libraries that require releases period, for every face, back of the head, profile, anything. I know libraries that only require releases for photos of kids.

Most of these came from our legal departments. And yet, when we are taking these photos people are in public places and have no reasonable right to privacy. So, photos are fair game, right? So I’m left wondering why these lawyers wrote these up. And my guess is distressing: that the library asked for it. That we asked for release forms for something that legally requires no release form.

Drill down a bit to this from Caleb in the comments:

It’s like a lot of people have forgotten that public libraries are government agencies and think of us instead as friends – why do we want to bust that bubble?

But we are institutions, and we have different responsibilities – and greater ones – than individuals do. We don’t always live up to them, especially not corporations, but I think that libraries’ actions regarding privacy or any other policy need to be well-thought out and well executed. Our photo albums are not personal, and digital ones are rarely in our control.

So I was thinking about my own practices recording video at conferences we put on, and I have to admit an opt-out notice is appropriate for gropus in public. When recording, I tell people in advance there will be video, the camera operators have instructions not to record people other than the speaker, and people asking questions can sit in the back and fill out cards instead of speaking out on the tape.

Clearly, this is an opt-out policy, but the important thing is that we find ways to let people participate without being recorded.

A friend at ALA asked me what the point of all this, and he called me out on libraries enacting strict policies based on worst-case scenarios. I don’t think that’s really the point – I am trying to model an ideal privacy behavior that I would expect from any institution. As institutions, we have power as well as responsibility, and cliche cliche, we can’t let ourselves abuse it.

Most of all, I want people to be engaged and fully participating in the event we are recording, and I think telling them up front what’s going on and what we plan to do helps that to happen. No one is surprised to see the camera or wonders what it’s for.

But yeah, it’s all happy medium.

Much to ponder about this. I advocate for presenting the face of the user and the library as much as possible, but I appreciate the comments take on establishing practices and “opt-out” instead of blanket bans on photos and a “police state” mentality I’ve encountered elsewhere.

Flickr rules in photo sharing, as video tiptoes in – USA Today

Salisbury Plain

Nice article from USA Today:

Flickr was created in 2003 by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, initially as a video game site. It was purchased by Yahoo in 2005, when it had 400,000 registered members.

Today, Flickr has 26 million members. Free accounts are limited to uploads of 100 megabytes monthly, or about 50 photos. “Pro” members get unlimited uploads. Yahoo won’t say how many paid members Flickr has.

Hitwise says the site’s market share among online photo sites leaped to 11.7% in March, from 4.5% the year before, after Yahoo added Flickr images to its search index.

“Yahoo has also made it really easy to post Flickr images on blogs, and that brings Flickr a lot of traffic,” analyst Dougherty says.

Flickr fans such as Petal in Alaska check out Flickr often, just to see what folks are saying about their work.

“I don’t know of another photo site where you can start a conversation based on just one photo,” she says. “It really gives people a lift to their day when someone has noticed one of their photos.”

A Day in the Life of Iowa Libraries

Karen M. Burns, Administrator of the Southwest Iowa Library Service Area, writes:

We did a National Library Week project this year–on the Wednesday of NLW we invited libraries in central, southwest and southeast Iowa to take photos of what was happening at the library that day, and upload up to 10 of them to a group on flickr.  I thought you might enjoy taking a look, they’re at:

We set up an FAQ page before hand, ( and did some “training” sessions in the Wimba online classroom.  The Meebo Me widget on the FAQ page was used more often than I thought it might be.  We’re working on a project to create a cooperative reader’s advisory service using Meebo Me widgets on library’s webpages, with volunteer reader’s advisors staffing the virtual RA station/Meebo room, which will have a buddy list that includes other reader’s advisors that the on-duty RA can all on for assistance.  

Karen – Great stuff from Iowa Libraries. Your Flickr example is perfect for any type of library, system or consortium. Please let TTW readers know when the RA Meebo service goes live.

Look Up – More from the Passion Quilt

The best experiences you’ll ever have are the ones where you’re completely aware, if only for a moment. Look up. Look around. Look within. Be aware of it all.

Last night I talked about the passion quilt as part of our final class in LIS701. I told them about the meme and what I wanted for them as students to bring into the profession. It will be very nice to use these sentiments again in future classes.

Also, don’t miss the pool at Flickr:

Created by Steve “Do it now” Lawson

Photographers Beware??!!


Read this:

Then this:

Tony Tallent writes:

This morning I received a call from the FBI. I’m not making this up. It was a follow-up from the photo-taking-spree I conducted during Computers in Libraries in DC.  I explained (again) why one would want to take photos of signs and buildings and such to use in presentations and on blogs. I explained about “Creative Commons” that I had just presented at the conference earlier that morning with Helene Blowers and that I’d posted the images on flickr in a set called “Free Use Photos.” When the interviewer asked me what this flickr thing was and how was it spelled, I resisted the urge to say “well, it’s sort of like The Google.” This “interview” went on for about 10+ minutes. How does one answer questions like “how many pictures did you take of that building?” Which one is “that building?” “Why would you take a picture of a water outlet?” Well, it was interesting and perhaps useful to someone who wants to portray the idea of “letting go of resources.” I have a better question(s): Why did I have to have this conversation in the first place, and does this gentleman have to call every tourist in D.C. who snaps a shot of their reflection in a window or a fire hydrant or an interesting doorway?

Lori Reed extends the conversation:

Given the recent encounter Tony Tallent had with law enforcement in DC at CIL (now the FBI is involved) over the photographs he was taking of buildings and signs, I thought it might be a good time to share this post from Photojojo: Photography and the Law Know Your Rights.

A great overview of what you can and can’t take photos of and what your rights are if you are stopped by law enforcement.

You might also want to print and place a copy of The Photographer’s Rightin your camera bag.

Check! Printed! I take a lot of pictures myself and had never encountered this– I shot at least 2000 in Australia (including government buildings, etc)  with no worry. maybe next year at CIL there should be a Free Use Photos Flash Mob. :-)

Creative Commons, Copyright, and the Murky Middle

Michael casey weighs in on events and developments concerning the Creative Commons. Don’t miss the whole post:

Watching all of this has forced me to conclude that I don’t particularly care for the Creative Commons license right now. I think I’ll either need to claim full copyright on my works, or I’ll do what Lori Reed and Tony Tallent have started doing, which is to permit full and free use of some of my works — I’ll have to do this on an image-by-image basis as there are many photos that I do not want reposted or reused.

By claiming full copyright I require any re-users to ask me before proceeding. That way I’ll know who is using my photos and how they are being used, yet I will still be able to permit reuse.  I come to this conclusion because I see a lot of images out there with CC licenses but I also see a lot of complaints about use — “you didn’t attribute it to me” or “you didn’t attribute it properly”.

I’m not so sold on this middle ground of Creative Commons anymore, which is frustrating because I really had high hopes for it as an alternative to straight copyright. I think CC creates a murky legal middle that seems designed to give flexibility but ends up creating confusion. If I want credit for a work then I will permit reuse under current copyright law but require attribution as I decide fit — you ask me and I say yes and here’s how…  If I want it to be usable byanyone then I make it public domain and I don’t have the right to come back and say “but you didn’t stroke me enough with a great big bold attribution”.

Free Use Photos

ImaginON: Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg County

How often do you need a quick photo to illustrate a point or concept? Are you ever concerned about the copyright restrictions? Well look no further!

Inspired by Michael Casey and his 50 Reasons Not to Change post (and the comments that followed). Tony Tallent and I have created a Flickr group called Free Use Photos where all the photos are free and can be used with no restrictions.

We encourage everyone in the library and education communities to join and share photos that can be used for displays, presentations, blogs, or any other imaginable use. Tony has already added some great photos to the group that will give you an idea of what we are looking for.

I just added the photo above from PLCMC to the pool. It was most useful in the slides Michael Casey and I put together for CIL2008. I’ll be adding more when grading time is done.