Library of Congress releases report on Flickr pilot

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

After 9 months The Library of Congress (LoC) released a detailed report on their Flickr pilot. In January 2008 the LoC and Flickr launched Flickr Commons. They uploaded a few thousand historical photos which have drawn more than 10 million views, 7,166 comments and more than 67,000 tags, according to the new report from the project team. The project had an unexpected impact:

“The pilot spurred many positive yet unexpected outcomes—especially Flickr members’ willingness to devote great effort to photo-related detective work and their level of engagement with historical images. Further, Flickr members have often drawn on personal histories to connect with the pictures, including memories of farming practices, grandparents’ lives, women’s roles in World War II, and the changing landscape of local neighborhoods”


Photo: Library of Congress, Germany Schaefer, Washington AL (baseball), 1911.

If you want to read in more detail how the LoC organised and experienced the pilot, you can download the whole Flickr report LoC here.


Archives and fans on Flickr: Seminar ‘Nationaal Archief joins Flickr the Commons’

Monday, November 17th, 2008

On the 21st of October 2008, the Nationaal Archief (National Archive) and its partner Spaarnestad Photo placed a part of their collections on the Commons on Flickr. And not without success. During the seminar ‘Nationaal Archief joins Flickr the Commons’, George Oates of Flickr announced that the amount of visits to the Nationaal Archief pages had increased to 430.000 since the 21st of October.


Photo: by Kennisland on

  • Download the report of the seminar here (English and Dutch version available):

Report seminar (English) or Verslag seminar (Nederlands)

  • Find photos of the seminar on:

  • Find the presentations on:

  • Watch the video of the presentations:

Video presentation Fiona Romeo

Video presentation Judith Moortgat

During the seminar Judith Moortgat (Nationaal Archief), Georges Oates (Flickr) and Fiona Romeo (National Maritime Museum) gave presentations. Furthermore a panel discussion took place on the topcis ‘The user perspective’ (with Mettina Veenstra, Telematica Instituut), ‘The archival perspective’ (with Peter van den Doel, Spaarnestad Photo) and ‘Copyright issues’ (with Annemarie Beunen, Royal Library). The panel discussion was moderated by Dick Rijken (Haagse Hogeschool).

The discussion was very lively as experiences, ideas and opinions were exchanged. If you would like to find out more about the seminar, you can download a detailed report, all presentations, videos and ofcourse photos above! A final report of the pilot will be placed on this blog in due course.


Remembring the First World War with the Commons on Flickr

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Today, November 11, 2008 is the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, the day the First World War came to an end. In addition to the two newest members of the Commons on Flickr, the Australian War Memorial and the Imperial War Museum, all members shared their photographs under the “Armistice Day” tag.

 As Nordström of the Geoges Eastman House puts forward beautifully:

“Today these pictures feel curiously like memory, though it is the photographs themselves we remember rather than the people and events they depict. [...] This is why we invite you to look, and look hard, at these fragments assembled from photograph collections around the world. From them we may piece together some notion of this, our first Modern trauma, and find in them, perhaps, the roots and resonances of our current dilemmas” – Alison Nordström, Curator of Photographs, George Eastman House

Also the Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo contribute to this unique online collection with some gorgeous and intersting photographs.


Photo: Eerste Wereldoorlog, vluchtelingen (1918) on Flickr.


Panel 4: Uncommon Business Models

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Panel 4 takes the discussion from yesterday a step further. Harry Verwayen (Kennisland) recaps yesterday’s discussion. We have learned from yesterday about the commons, the social contract that we have. A place where archival materials should be available and where the market has to join in. It is an investment worthwile like INA did in France and Images for the Future in the Netherlands. But, there is a cost aspect. So there should be a sustainable business model. How are we going to do that?

We have to keep two aspects in mind. Verwayen points out that there is a paradigm shift going on inside the archives themselves. These organisations have to transform completely. Also, it is neccessary to look outside of the archives. We have to listen to what is going on with piracy and p2p networks as Jamie King was talking about yesterday. So, the aim of this session is to come up with models that could be usable and reflect on the ‘uncommon’ side of it. Verwayen encourages us to try to get beyond the restrictions that are constraining in this session.

7 models

There is always a cost and revenue aspect. Verwayen talks about 7 possible open business models.

  • subscrtiption model
  • pay per view/ download (ODE)
  • free + added quality (Prelinger Archives)
  • freemium (+ service) (Flickr, Linkedin)
  • advertisement (NY Times)
  • sponsorships (Memory of the Netherlands, Google Books)
  • community engagement (Tribler)

Most of the money was traditionally earned in a closed environment. Now, how can we do that in an open model?

Open business models in scientific publishing

Jan Velterop, CEO of Knewco ( is one of the leading experts on Open Access and open business models in scientific publishing. He states that he doesn’t believe in open business models, but he does believe in ‘opening up’ business models. Information is ‘funny stuff’ in this respect that unlike food, after you consumed it, it is not neccesarily gone, he explains. The problem with information is its ‘natural state’. It is open. It goes where it goes. So how do we make money with information or at least make good the costs?

According to Velterop there are 3 potential sources of funding. The reader. Here copy right is the construct of making money. But, subscriptions come with restriction and this is something that is not alway desirable. Second, the author, the provider of information. Actually this is more common than people think according to Velterop. A classic example is advertising. Third, 3rd parties.

The key is the one who has the biggest interest, is the one who pays. You see that most business models, for example in the newspaper industry, move to the author or the sponsor who pays instead of the reader. Open access in research publishing works, because in research publishing there is a big interest form the author. Closing deals as a publisher with the authors is a way to give open access to information at least for scientific publisher Springer.

Last FM: an open model on music

Jonas Woost, Head of Music at the pioneering music company Lastfm (, talks about their open business model successfully used in an industry that has shown to be particularly vulnerable in the open environment of the internet, the music industry.

The ’scrobbling business’ is the core thing of Last FM, he explains. You come to Last FM and run some software. The software – ‘a kind of spyware’ – is listening to what you are listening. On the basis of what you listen, you can socially interact. Recommandation of music is based on “collaborative filtering”. Further on, artistpages are created automatically on LastFM. Like wikipedia users can add information to their profiles. Than you got two services. A streaming radio like service in which the key is ‘discovery’. There is not much interaction, but users can dicover new artists and new music. Second, you have free on demand streaming. You can search, find and listen music on demand.

Woost talks about their relationships with rights owners. Artists and labels get paid every time someone listens to a song. Also, an artist without a record label can sign up and profit. The more you listen, the more you get paid. The traditional situation was that you got paid per CD so somehow this system is more fair.

LastFM makes money in 3 ways. Ofcourse, there is ‘visual advertising’. Banner advertising. Second ‘affiliate links’. You will find links of all music displayed on LastFM going to 3rd party retailers. This is a “win win win situation”. The music fan is happy to find new music. Label can sell their CD, and for every successful transaction LastFM receives a commission. Third, a subscrition offering. The current subscription service gives you certain extras on the website if you want. According to Woost they will soon launch a new model which includes an unlimited anount of streaming on LastFM.

Jon Phillips (Creative Commons) asks if LastFM is just another face of relocking music. After all it is recently bought up by CBS. Woost denies. According to him there wille be no locking. It makes sense to make it free for the user. We make it available as free as we can, Woost argues. Anyone who wants to build a player, can. You don’t have to use LastFM to play the music. The only restriction is that we can pay the right owners.

Panel discussion

Together with pannelists Peter Kaufman (Intelligent Television), Roei Amit (INA), Rick Prelinger (Prelinger Archives) and Eerde Hovinga (NIBG-tbc) Verwayen, Woost and Velterop reflect on the impacts of these models on audiovisual archives.

Can you build something like LastFM for audiovisual archives? Woost thinks you can. But, there is a big diffenrence in listening music and watching video. You can listen to music all day doing other things, with video not. Either way, recommandations are key in both and that will be a huge challenge for the video industry. The panel argues that video can also function as background on your TV, this might be a profitable kind of use of archival video too.

So, what if Google comes along and offers your archive to pay for the digitization. The only restriction is to make it available on Google. Hovinga states that in he wouldn’t sell his archive out for Google just like that, but will take those offers as a serious possibility. According to Prelinger this is the most impertinent question to ask for in audiovisual archives.

Amit argues that archives will not going to have a sufficiant income from the B2C side like LastFM. In about 20 years the value of the audiovisual archives will be less than now, as every day there will be more content available. The value of the audiovisual archives will be further pushed away into the Long Tail where it is hard to make a lot of money. According to Amit this is the reason why there has to be public money in if you want to give the commons access to it.