flickr, digital curation and the web

The Library of Congress has started to put selected content from Chronicling America into Flickr as part of the Illustrated Newspaper Supplements set. More details on the rationale and process involved can be found in a FAQ on the LC Newspapers and Current Periodical Reading Room website.

So for example this newspaper page on Chronicling America:

Is also available on Flickr:

I haven’t written about it here yet, but Chronicling America is just a regular vanilla Django/MySQL/Apache webapp which exposes machine readable metadata for the newspaper content using the Linked Data pattern. It just so happens that Dave was able to use these linked data views to determine the metadata to use when uploading content to Flickr. For example if a curator wants to have this newspaper page uploaded to Flickr, Dave’s flickr uploading program is able to use the associated metadata (referenced in a link element inthe HTML) to get the newspaper title, issue, date, and other related metadata. The beauty of this was Dave was able to do the technical work on his own, and it didn’t require any formal project coordination.

A few weeks ago, on learning of the Flickr / Chronicling America integration Rob Sanderson asked if we could possibly reference the Flickr content in our own data views. Rob became interested in Chronicling America because of its use of the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange Vocabulary in the linked data views. Rob has written a rather nice oai-ore Greasemonkey visualization tool called foresite-explorer, which can visualize oai-ore links to Flickr. It also makes sense from a curatorial perspective to want to capture these bi-directional links between Chronicling America and Flickr in the Chronicling America database.

After agreeing with Rob I’ve had it on my plate to get the list of Flickr URLs and their associated Chronicling America URLs from Dave, for loading into Chronicling America so that the links can be served up in the data views, and perhaps maybe in the HTML. But yesterday morning I had the realization that I didn’t really need to ask (and keep asking every month) Dave for the list. Since Dave created a Flickr set for these pages, and has embedded the URI for the Chronicling America page as a machine tag I can get it right from Flickr. So I hacked together a quick script, and now I have the list too.

ed@rorty:~$ ./flickr_chronam.py
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608399458', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-01-03/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608400834', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-01-10/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608402104', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-01-17/ed-1/seq-16/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608403362', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-01-24/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607588861', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-01-31/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608405718', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-02-07/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608407068', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-02-14/ed-1/seq-16/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608408274', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-02-21/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607593693', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-02-28/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608410606', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-03-07/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607596267', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-03-14/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607597927', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-03-21/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608414374', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-03-28/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608415708', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-04-04/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607601559', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-04-11/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608418042', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-04-18/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608419060', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-04-25/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607604705', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-05-02/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608421240', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-05-09/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608422694', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-05-16/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607608459', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-05-23/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608425436', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-05-30/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607611709', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-06-06/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607637819', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-06-13/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607638897', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-06-20/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608455948', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-06-27/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607641409', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-07-04/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607642551', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-07-11/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607889205', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-07-18/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608709982', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-07-25/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607894517', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-08-01/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607896027', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-08-08/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608713826', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-08-15/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608715804', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-08-22/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607900561', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-08-29/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608718394', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-09-05/ed-1/seq-15/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608719874', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-09-12/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608721302', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-09-19/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607906387', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-09-26/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608724542', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-10-03/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607909093', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-10-10/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607910739', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-10-17/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608728408', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-10-24/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607913989', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-10-31/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607915481', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-11-07/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607916497', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-11-14/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608734354', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-11-21/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3607919583', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-11-28/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608737124', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-12-05/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608738658', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-12-12/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608740242', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-12-19/ed-1/seq-17/')
(u'http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/3608741612', u'http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1909-12-26/ed-1/seq-13/')

The point of this blog post is that Dave, Rob and I were able to independently work on tools for pushing the same repository content around without having to talk much at all. The World Wide Web, and URIs in particular, enables this sort of integration. I guess some people would argue that this is a Web2.0 Mashup, and I guess they would be right in a way. But really it is using the Web the way it was designed to be used–as a decentralized information space. Flickr can tell me about the Chronicling America content that’s on Flickr; and Chronicling America can tell other people about the repository objects themselves.

Now I just need to make those links available for Rob in the data views :-)

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flickr, digital curation and the web by Ed Summers, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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