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...

  • Royal Australian Historical Society
  • DC Public Library Commons
  • Museum of Photographic Arts Collections
  • Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office Commons
  • The British Library
  • Preus museum
  • Senado Federal do Brasil
  • Dundas Museum and Archives
  • National Archives of Estonia
  • The Library of Congress
  • Costică Acsinte Archive
  • tyrrellhistoricallibrary
  • bibliothequedetoulouse
  • Swedish National Heritage Board
  • State Library of Queensland, Australia
  • CDHS
  • Netherlands Institute of Military History
  • Fotoarkivet NTM
  • State Library and Archives of Florida
  • UW Digital Collections
  • UL Digital Library
  • Mennonite Church USA Archives
  • Nova Scotia Archives
  • National Library of Ireland on The Commons
  • Powerhouse Museum Collection
  • UBC Library Digitization Centre
  • The Library of Virginia
  • National Library NZ on The Commons
  • LSE Library
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavík Museum of
  • The Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • New York Public Library
  • National Library of Sweden
  • Provincial Archives of Alberta

A Commons Sampler

Barrientos (LOC)
Barrientos (LOC)
from The Library of Congress

Convair XF-92  Convair photo
Convair XF-92 Convair photo
from San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

from San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

from San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

F-89J  Roger Besecker photo
F-89J Roger Besecker photo
from San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

Joffre in Br'klyn [i.e., Brooklyn] (LOC)
Joffre in Br'klyn [i.e., Brooklyn] (LOC)
from The Library of Congress

Anna Case (LOC)
Anna Case (LOC)
from The Library of Congress

Caruso (LOC)
Caruso (LOC)
from The Library of Congress

Mort. Schiff & family (LOC)
Mort. Schiff & family (LOC)
from The Library of Congress

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!!