Tuesday 22 February 2011

Thoughts on using Flickr for Archives

Since last Friday me and fellow cataloguer Zoe Viney have been avidly following our Flickr statistics (really not as boring as it sounds!) and the publicity we did has had a huge impact on viewing figures.  Just using mailing lists such as the Archives NRA list, Hampshire County Council lists, and our Twitter we had over 300 views by the end of the first day (last Friday, 18th February 2011) and as of five minutes ago we have 495 views - pretty good going for five days I would say!  Even though I use Twitter every day, check my mailing lists every day and so on, I was still surprised by the high response rate to our postings.  I think this illustrates the high value which such social networking tools as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr can have for an archive, especially in these difficult times of cuts and closures.

Our original aim was to create an online exhibition which would promote the project we are working on specifically and the Wessex Film and Sound Archive more generally.  This was an additional outcome to the project rather than a core part of it so we had to do it for free, and without using up our cataloguing time.  I had used Flickr before when I worked at Stirling University (see their Flickr here) so I knew how easy it was to set up and to upload images to.  I had never used it to upload videos before but this isn't any different to uploading photos so doesn't take long at all.  What I had thought would take longer was actually making clips from the digital copies of the films.  However this was surprisingly straightforward using Quicktime to select then extract a short section of a film.  The quality of the images varied hugely depending on whether we were doing screenshots from Quicktime files, DVD copies, or taking photographs of a screen showing a VHS copy with the Quicktime files giving the best quality still shots.

The exhibition is 'A Sense of Place' - let me know what you think of it and feel free to add any additional information or comments to the Flickr site.  It is very easy to use Flickr and by using some free publicity, very easy to direct people to your site.  However what seems to be a lot harder, well at least I've found it harder, is encouraging people to interact and communicate with the archives through Flickr.  Our aim now should be to try to generate more user interaction, maybe by posting stills of places or people we can't identify - that's the next project to get started on!

Another thing - trying to set up an exhibition within Flickr, (we don't have Flickr Pro so can't use Collections, only Sets)  was tricky.  It was only due to Zoe's persistence with sorting out the links that it works (well, we think it works, let us know what you think).  it took a lot of tweaking to get it so that we could create themes then link to a set of images from a particular film.  Flickr Pro would help with this as you could create Collections, then Sets within the Collections - if the exhibition and our general use of Flickr proves to be a success then we hope that Flickr Pro is something the Record Office would consider investing in (not that it's a huge investment really, just $25).

I think this clip below shows just how much you can get out of a 1 minute 30 second clip - there is just so much going on at this market and fair!  The film is titled 1939 - 1963 Then and Now as the filmmaker Eda Moore spliced together footage of Salisbury (her hometown) across this date range to show what had changed, and what had stayed the same.

AV509/3 - Eda Moore 1939 - 1963 Then and Now

No comments:

Post a Comment