Photo by George

The Commons

Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.

The Commons Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.


The key goal of The Commons is to share hidden treasures from the world's public photography archives.

Please help make the photographs you enjoy more discoverable by adding tags and leaving comments. Your contributions and knowledge make these photos even richer*

A random sprinkling of our participating institutions...

  • Law Society of Upper Canada Archives
  • SALTOnline
  • Mississippi Department of Archives and History
  • Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane
  • National Library NZ on The Commons
  • Archives of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle
  • Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland
  • Regionaal Archief Alkmaar Commons
  • Provincial Archives of Alberta
  • Royal Australian Historical Society
  • Camden Public Library (Maine)
  • LlGC ~ NLW
  • State Library and Archives of Florida
  • Vestfoldmuseene | Vestfold Museums
  • Costică Acsinte Archive
  • The National Archives UK
  • National Media Museum
  • Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavík Museum of
  • Preus museum
  • OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons
  • The Library of Congress
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Texas State Archives
  • The Finnish Museum of Photography
  • Museum of Hartlepool
  • Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest
  • Cornell University Library
  • Getty Research Institute
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • UL Digital Library
  • Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
  • Netherlands Institute of Military History
  • State Records NSW
  • UW Digital Collections
  • Library Company of Philadelphia

A Commons Sampler

More about The Commons

A new way to share photos on Flickr

The Commons was launched on January 16 2008, when we released our pilot project in partnership with The Library of Congress. Both Flickr and the Library were overwhelmed by the positive response to the project! Thank you!

The program has two main objectives:

  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. (Then watch what happens when they do!)


I work for a cultural heritage institution that would like to be a part of The Commons. How do we do that?

Please let us know you're interested by registering here. It helps a lot if you let us know some background about your institution, and direct us to any online photo collections you already have.

How can I get involved?

We've already seen fantastic contribution from the Flickr membership. Your tags and conversations about the content in The Commons has been wonderful! The best way to get involved is to add a tag or two to the photos you see, and if you happen to know anything else about the subject, by all means add a comment.

What's "no known copyright restrictions?"

This new rights statement is being contained to the institutions participating in The Commons, at the account level. It is a requirement for participation in the program that institutions may rightly claim "no known copyright restrictions" on the content they share. More information.

*Any Flickr member is able to add tags or comment on these collections. If you're a dork about it, shame on you. This is for the good of humanity, dude!!