or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Online Photo Sharing with Flickr

   April 3rd, 2008 Brian Herzog

Flickr Loves YouLast night I gave a workshop at my library on how to use flickr for online photo sharing (thanks to everyone who contributed). It went well, and I thought I'd post the handouts here (no slides, since it was a live demo in flickr). Feel free to use or repackage this material for your own purposes. The online version is below, and here are pdf and Word versions:


Introduction to Online Photo Sharing

  1. The three main reasons to use an online photo sharing website with your digital pictures are:
    • They serve as backup copies in case something happens to your computer or camera
    • They are easy to organize and manage to find later on
    • They can easily be shared with other people (better than emailing!)
  2. A short introductory video about photo sharing: http://www.commoncraft.com/photosharing
  3. Visit the Library's flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chelmsfordpubliclibrary


Creating a flickr account

Flickr has both a free version (limited to 200 photos, 3 sets, 100mb uploads per month - http://www.flickr.com/help/limits) and a paid "Pro" version ($24.95/year with no limits or ads).

Flickr is owned by Yahoo.com, so you will need (or need to create) a Yahoo account to use flickr. (You'll only have to do these steps once)

  1. Go to http://www.flickr.com and click "Sign In" and create your account
  2. Read the Community Guidelines
  3. Account Settings you should customize (click account name at the top right of the screen)
    Personal Information

    • Your buddy icon
    • Your screenname (this is what will show on flickr, not what you use to log in)
    • Your flickr web address (how people can find you)

    Privacy & Permissions

    • Who will be able to see, comment on, and annotate your photos
      • Only You, Friends and/or Family, Anyone
      • Guest Pass (share sets with specific people regardless of privacy settings)
      • Can be changed at any time, on a per-photo basis
    • What license will your photos have (http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses)

    There are lots more account settings that you can customize, but these are some you should customize


Uploading Photographs

Flickr offers lots of ways to upload photos - from the flickr website, from your computer, from your camera phone or by email. We'll look at using the flickr website.

  1. Go to http://www.flickr.com and click "Sign In"
  2. Click upload photos
  3. Browse to the photos on your camera or computer
  4. Set privacy setting, edit photo title, add description and tags (first step in organizing)

Make Notes and read Comments on your photos. Click the "Add Note" icon in the toolbar above each photo to highlight a specific area of your photo. Other flickr users will leave comments below your photos, and some will mark your photos are "favorites."

flickr image toolbar


Organizing and Sharing Photographs

Create Sets to group related photos.

  1. Click Organize > Your Sets
  2. Add name, description and photos (drag and drop)
  3. Photos can be added to more than one set

Add to Map to show where you've been or where something is.

  1. Click Organize > Your Map
  2. Find location on map (be as specific as possible)
  3. Drag and drop photo onto map

Use Groups to share photos with other people who have similar photos.

  1. Click Groups > Search for Groups
  2. When you fin one you like, click Join this Group
  3. Add photos to a Group's photo pool by clicking Groups > Your Groups

View Your Contacts photos to see what has been recently uploaded by people you know or like - you can also Invite people to view your photos even if they don't have a Flickr account.

Use a Badge to automatically show your photos on your website.

Print Your Photos right from flickr - choose the size and finish, and they will mail them to you.


Edit Your Photographs Online

Flickr uses Picnik to allow flickr users to edit photos right online. To do this, click the "Edit Photo" icon in the toolbar above the photo to edit, and this will import the photo into the Picnik editor.

  • Picnik allows for color adjustment, red-eye reduction, cropping, resizing and more
  • Some features are "Premium" - you have to pay to use them
  • "Pro" flickr users can replace photos; free account can only create new photos
  • Lots of other online photo editors are available, but this is the only one integrated with flickr


Glossary of Flickr Terms

Badge: A way to add photos from your flickr account right to your own website

Collection: A group of sets (can also include photos not in sets)

Contacts: Other flickr users you have chosen to add to Your Contacts page; can be Contacts, Friends or Family

Description: Text describing a photograph (shows below the photo)

Discussion board: Online discussion forum available for group members to talk to each other

Favorite: Marking a photo a "favorite" adds it to Your Favorites page, to make it easy to find later

Geotagging: Adding location-related metadata to your photos to make them findable by where they were taken (this happens automatically when you add photos to your map)

Groups: A group of flickr users with a similar interest, and share information via a photo pool and a discussion board

Metadata: Information about your photos used to organize and find them. Tags, titles and descriptions are examples of metadata, but your camera will also automatically add shutter speed, exposure, white balance, etc. to your photo's metadata

Note: Text describing a highlighted section of a photograph (shows right on the photo)

Photostream: The photos uploaded to a flickr account

Picnik: The tool flickr uses for online photo editing

Pool: The photos of individual group members that they have added to the group

Set: A group of related photographs

Tags (or tagging): Keywords added to a photograph to make it easy to find

Title: Short "headline" of a photo (shows above the photo)


More Flickr Resources


Other Online Photo Resources (no downloading required)

Photo Sharing:

Photo Editing:

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Virtual Library Tour using flickr

   March 21st, 2008 Brian Herzog

Chelmsford Public Library Front DoorI've been working on this for awhile, and finally got it all together - a set of photographs on flickr that serve as a virtual tour of my library.

It is a fairly simple approach to a virtual tour, in that I just took pictures of all the different areas of our library, wrote up little descriptions of each area, and then linked them together using flickr's notes feature (I also made a floor plan of both levels and linked all the areas that way, too). It makes for almost a self-guided tour of the library, and someone who saw it recently said it was like moving through a video game or a "choose your own adventure" story.

It's a little less fancy than other tours out there, but I liked it in that all it really required was time - no special software or skills necessary (other than flickr, obviously). Also, being flickr, patrons can leave comments, and the photographs can be easily repurposed for other uses.

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Online Photo Tools

   March 13th, 2008 Brian Herzog

cameraI am giving a workshop in early April on using flickr. It's the last in a digital photography workshop series at my library, because, after people learn how to use and take nice pictures with their digital camera, the flickr workshop will show them one option for doing something with those digital pictures.

I thought I'd get a jump on preparing for it, by compiling a list of websites I'd like to mention in addition to flickr - not just online photo sharing websites, but websites that let you edit photos, sites that have free archives of photos, etc.

In the process of working on it, it occurred to me that it'd be worthwhile to post it here, too. It's a long list, but certainly not all-inclusive, so if your favorite isn't listed here, please share.

Photo Sharing:

Photo Editing:

Image Archives:

Other flickr-related Information:

Also, this list will probably change a bit closer to the workshop.

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Slowly Building Towards 2.0ness

   May 8th, 2007 Brian Herzog

flickr logoMy library is slowly adopting web 2.0 tools. We've done a bit up so far, but now we've finally started a flickr account.

We always take pictures at our many programs, but then those photos just end up sitting on our staff network. They usually don't even make it our website. This seemed to me a sad waste, so I've been talking up using flickr as a storage and sharing tool for the last few months.

People were pretty tepid to the entire idea, and couldn't see why I cared. So, as a micro-project, I started using flickr just for some historic photos from our archive (and then integrated them into the website). Once people saw how flickr worked, and how it could be used, then they started thinking about what ways they could use it, too.

Painting the mural in the Childrens RoomThe first to dive in was our Children's Room librarians. The Children's Room is being repainted with a mural, and they saw that flickr would be a great way to share the progression of the painting - and by using a flickr "badge", they could also put these pictures right on a Children's Room webpage.

The biggest sticking point now is concern that patrons will be outraged if we post their photograph on the internet without first getting their permission. And this is legitimate, because although photos taken in public places are fair game, I wouldn't want to rely on a legal technicality. But I also think that it's not that big a deal - once people get used to it, there should be no problem (I hope).

So it's still slow going (slower than I'd like, anyway), but I am getting people on board. Perhaps soon we'll even find the $25/year to pay for a pro account, and really invest in this as a permanent tool.
flickr, libraries, library, library 2.0, patron photos, patron pictures, photos, pictures, public libraries, public library, publishing, web 2.0

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