Library of Congress Offers Historical Photos on Flickr

Over 3,000 of the Library's most popular photos are currently available on the photo sharing site.



For decades, the opportunity to browse through millions of our nation's historic photos at the Library of Congress likely meant a trip up to Capitol Hill. While many of those items still require a visit in person, this week the Library began offering high-resolution scans of some of their historical photograph collections on the popular photo sharing website, Flickr, enabling history buffs to view thousands of high-resolution images on the Web.

While digital images were already offered through the Library's Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, sharing a selection of these images on Flickr allows the Library to extend access to their collections to users who might not otherwise visit the LOC website.

Users are permitted to tag and provide comments on images, a feature not available on the LOC website. Not only will comments provide a way for visitors to express their opinions regarding a particular image, it could also provide the Library with additional identifying information. Flickr also allows for a much more interactive experience, with the Library providing direct feedback to users' comments as well.

Over 3,000 images from the Library's collection are available without restriction on publication or distribution through the Library of Congress' Flickr photostream. The collection is divided into two albums, including 1,615 color images captured between 1935 and 1943, and 1,500 images photographed by the Bain News Service between 1910 and 1912, providing a window into the daily lives of Americans during that period.

According to their FAQ section, the Library plans on adding additional images in the future, including photos from the Civil War. All of the images in the Library's Flickr albums are free of copyright restrictions, and the Library offers high-resolution TIFF versions of photos in their Flickr albums through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. The catalog also provides access to over 1 million digitized items including over 200,000 images from the Library's abbreviated Flickr collection. Users are encouraged to provide feedback using Flickr comments, including requests for additional images to be added to the collection.