BigBean PRO 2:29pm, 20 December 2008
If you're not directly involved with one of the Commons Institutions, this is the place to say hello, introduce yourself and maybe tell us a bit about your interest in The Commons.

Alternatively we also have this Collection Managers Introduction thread, which is meant for anyone and everyone working for one of the current or future Commons members.

If you're somewhere between the two (I know we have several members already who work on a freelance basis with a Commons Institution, or work with museums/galleries/archives who might be considering The Commons project, etc.) you can choose which thread you'd like to use.

We really don't mind- we'd just love to hear who everyone is, and what brings them here!
BigBean PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by BigBean (admin) 8 years ago
Ok, as I'm here, I'll break the ice.

Hi I'm Anna

I started this group a few days after finding out that flickr had lost one of its most inspirational and forward-looking people - the truly kick-ass George Oates.

As Jessica Johnson described her, 'Flickr’s Superstar Princess of Special Projects' was the driving force behind the awesomeness that is The Commons. With George suddenly gone I became very concerned- both for George and for The Commons. Without their chief visionary and cheerleader what would the future hold?

I went looking for a group of similarly concerned Commons-fans and was absolutely shocked not to find a single one!
Like Jayel said 'There is always a Flickr group for everything!

Anyway, i started this one, invited a bunch of people and have been completely blown away ever since by the enthusiasm and passion of everyone who's turned up.

I *knew* I couldn't be the only one who loves The Commons!

Anyway, that's me.
If you have ideas or questions or are feeling generally inspired- jump in somewhere. There's already lots going on and we are absolutely looking for people who can bring their energy and a bit of commitment to this awesome project.
mia! PRO 8 years ago
Hello! Not being a collections person I wasn't sure which thread I should post in, but in the end I plumped for the other thread as I'm working for both a current and possible future Commons member.
BigBean PRO 8 years ago
sounds good, Mia.

I think you chose the right one
: )
zyrcster 8 years ago
Hello, I'm Criz. :)

The Commons interested me from day one of its launch, since I am such a history geek and have enjoyed museum and archive hunting for old photos that document the history of places. I did graduate work in political history/philosophy, so spending hours combing through digitized archives is second nature to me.

It's so exciting to me that there is so much interest and activity in this group already. I was seriously pissed off the night I learned of George's layoff. However, this group has calmed me down about that, restoring my faith in Flickr, since it's always been about the community, here, hasn't it?

So, thank you, Anna, for creating this group!
Lú_ PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Lú_ (member) 8 years ago
I'm Stephanie, but I also answer to Lú. I came to photography out of love for documentary photography, though I do little of it myself. And I spent some years as a grad student and academic living increasingly in archives, with a goal to spend even more time there. I was excited at the same time by what I imagined (back in the early 90s) could be developed for ways to show documentation and visuals in a complex, hyperlinked, layered way, something I wanted to do with some 18th-century travel guides. It's really exciting to me that these things seem to be really happening, and it's exciting that there are now ways to get word out into the world so quickly. I feel a bit like the printers of 17th-century broadsheets must have felt! I am, BTW, in Toronto.
dopiaza PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by dopiaza (admin) 8 years ago
Hi all, I'm Dave, also known as dopiaza.

I was so excited when the commons was announced - rummaging through boxes of old photographs is endlessly fascinating, and the Commons brings us some really interesting boxes to rummage in.

I've been interested in old photographs, maps and documents ever since I was a teenager - one of my teachers at school was also chairman of the local historical society, and he encouraged me to get involved there. They had an amazing collection of photographs, books, and all sorts of ephemera documenting the local community over many hundreds of years. I spent many a school holiday helping sift through the collections helping identify and categorise the various things in the collection. I've been both a hoarder and a rummager ever since.

By day (and, by night too, I guess), I'm an independent software consultant, and spend a lot of my time developing software systems for a wide variety of people - from small businesses through to large multinationals.

I've been on Flickr for around four years now, and have built a number of things that use the Flickr API to do interesting things, including the systems that keep the Utata site ticking over.

I am very encouraged by the positive response I've seen in this group so far - I think this could be a fun and worthwhile project.
heather Posted 8 years ago. Edited by heather (member) 8 years ago
Hi, I'm Heather, I work at Flickr and was someone who George would sometimes bounce things off off. I'm part of a group at Flickr who are very much committed to keeping the Commons something wonderful (supported by our whole wonderful team).
ColleenM Posted 8 years ago. Edited by ColleenM (member) 8 years ago
I'm Colleen. I hang out with my Flickr friends, mostly in the Help Forum.

I'm also a writer and (as I said when I was four years old) I organdize things. Sometimes I try to teach other people to write and sometimes I try to teach other people to play nicely together.

I love playing in the Commons, trying to help add information.
pixability PRO 8 years ago
Hello all, My name is Brandon and you can file me under the appreciative audience category.

I do have an interest in cartography and photography, and am fascinated by the concept of georeferencing historical photographic archive. Like Stephanie’s comment above I too think we are living in a time of technological advances that make these things eminently doable. I’ve only dabbled in such a project a little using a few national register districts in my town (Ashland, Oregon) as a starting point for linking turn of the century photos to their locations through the City’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Seeing the evolution of a place over time through photo archives is, and will be, a wonderful resource.
AfroPix 8 years ago

My name is Paula, but I post under Afropix. I love taking photographs and also love collecting old photographs.

I have a blog - - where I am blogging my (mainly) African American family genealogy and posting related pictures.

I am here for the historical photographs; and am considering donating my extensive family history photograph collection to the Smithsonian' National Museum of African American History and Culture or to the Anacostia Community Museum, or similar institution, as a means to preserve them for future generations.
waferbaby PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by waferbaby (member) 8 years ago
Hello! I'm Daniel, or waferbaby, or any combination thereof, really. :)

I do the nerdy code bits of The Commons at Flickr, and was very very lucky to be the Robin to George's Batman. I've never been more excited about a project than this one. Honest.

I'm here to make sure Things Work™.
Walwyn PRO 8 years ago
'Walwyn' is the name I use when I intend to play nice online. I'm a senior software engineer for a software company you'll never have heard of. We create applications for designers and manufacturing. Most of the camera makers use our software, so does the Canadian mint, and well ...

I started photography back in 1980 mainly as a way of recording local political events and community action groups. Nearly all the photographs from that period are scattered as they were all given away to the organizations I was working with at the time. I do have a box of BW negatives, of demonstrations, strikes, political meetings, conferences, folk clubs, and community fetes. I have no colour negatives from that period as they were all given away along with the prints.

My interests are wildlife, history, and politics. Currently I'm trying to record the local churches, but that's pretty obvious from the stream. Apparently a few weeks ago I was parked up near dopiaza's house.
Jayel Aheram PRO 8 years ago
My name is Jayel Aheram and have always been extremely vocal in my support of the Flickr Commons project, which I think is the most important project Flickr has undertaken. Anna contacted me a few days ago and I was surprised to learn that there has not been a Flickr group dedicated to the Commons project. I am glad she took the initiative in contacting people involved and hopefully we all can take this project into a whole new level and even more relevant to everyone.

Me from six months ago:
I honestly believe that Flickr's initiative is very significant; it is a bold move in the electronic frontier. Applying the Flickr platform to public domain images is a stroke of genius. Releasing these images into the online medium frees them from the limits of the medium.

Our shared culture is only enriched by these images.
Rob Ketcherside PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Rob Ketcherside (member) 8 years ago
I joined this group to talk about The Commons but so far I've only talked about myself :/ I'll try to fix that later.

I posted about myself and The Commons in this thread.

I am a software program manager. I don't work for Flickr/Yahoo :) . I've been in the industry for more than a decade working on internet products and services. I came back this summer from a few-year stint in Japan.

You can get an idea about me from my website, but for the last six months or so I've been posting more to Facebook.

I'm guessing this goes beyond the realm of "interestingness", but here's what led me to The Commons...

I've been called a history buff, but I don't retain knowledge well, I'm more like a history mole. I caught the bug while trying to find any and all information about a streetcar which used to go past my house. As new info petered out I felt my interest waning and stuck most of it on my site. I know it's come in useful to a couple of history grad students, so mission accomplished.

In 2006 I made a more readable history and catalog of streets in my office's Tokyo neighborhood.

In the spring I did intensive research to learn about Seattle's first city plan for a paper (back to school!), which taught me to make a structured document that has something to say (hope my prof really read it cuz no one else has!.. still mulling over whether I should post it for the search engines to devour). That carried on into obsessive digging through databases for details on the life of the guy who wrote it.

Which prepped me for commenting on The Commons. Until now a purely selfish pleasure (except Shelley, thanks for the encouragement!) :)
Edith OSB PRO 8 years ago
I teach sociology at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. I was delighted to hear about The Commons project - what a great resource for students located so far from any great archive of this type.

This semester, I am teaching a Research Methods course, and hope to develop at least one exercise that will involve the commons.

I'm also a Benedictine sister, heir to our 1500 year practice of keeping records and seeing the long term picture.

Thank you for this project.
Paul Hagon PRO 8 years ago
Hi! I'm Paul. I live in Australia and I've been working as a web developer in cultural institutions for the past 10 years. I'm currently working at the National Library of Australia and previously worked at the Australian War Memorial. I love working in places with such rich collections and with people who are interested in maintaining and exposing these collections.

I've been using the Commons to explore ways of providing some historical context to our current environment. I've built a few mashups with the photos from the Commons - my then and now streetview mashup for the Powerhouse Museum (and more recently for the State Library of New South Wales and the National Library of New Zealand) and also a bit more of an experimental location based Commons in my neighbourhood application.

It's wonderful having this rich historical resource freely available, and with access via the API's, being able to do some more really interesting things across all the collections in ways that wasn't possible before.
Lú_ PRO 8 years ago
Walwyn wrote
Apparently a few weeks ago I was parked up near dopiaza's house.
That's *very* cool.
Jayel Aheram PRO 8 years ago
Hi Paul! I wrote about you four months ago.

Keep up the great work. Love the mash-up.
Paul Hagon PRO 8 years ago
Hi Jayel - I saw that come through in my referral stats - thanks for the great write up.
Wolfywhispers 8 years ago
Allo, I'm Bruce(wince)
I've recently become interested in Historical research. Various online writers and friends have piqued my interest over the last few years regarding the pursuit of historical data. Look forward ta pokin' around and maybe learning a thing or two.
TPorter2006 PRO 8 years ago
Hey, I am Terry and I am a history geek. I am new to The Commons but I love seeing the history there. We are all standing on the shoulder of giants when it comes to photography, it is interesting to see what past photographers found interesting and aimed their often bulky cameras at.
BobMeade Posted 8 years ago. Edited by BobMeade (member) 8 years ago
I'm Bob.

A couple of people approached me via Flickr Mail and suggested I should join this group.

My interest is as a user. A Flickr member who loves looking at most of the photographs put up by The Commons' institutions.

I do commentary at the Library of Congress' photostream and tag a little there. I do commentary a lot at the Powerhouse Museum's photostream, put up lots of notes and do a bit of tagging there.

Users can also tag directly on photographic images (and other collection items) at the website of the Powerhouse Museum (PHM), and tagging here on Flickr has encouraged me to go direct to the PHM mothership.

Due to my involvement via Flickr, Paula Bray and Seb Chan of the Powerhouse Museum interviewed me and put up my rambling responses to their concise questions in 2-part interview.

Part 1:

Part 2:

My blog is here:

That's enough for now.
RyanDonahue 8 years ago
Oh sheesh, I've forgotten to post in this thread!

I'm Ryan.

I work for George Eastman House. I do websites.
JTContinental 8 years ago
Hi, I'm JT and also new to the Commons. I joined Flickr about a year ago, and have upgraded several camera sizes since my first post. :D
Our interest is as an unofficial official "Commons Institution". We sent in a contract to join before all this happened. Guess we got lost in the shuffle? :-/

For the Oklahoma Centennial we collected and scanned historic photos from our library communities and have put them on here. Love the Commons and now add our "current" local event photos along with our historic ones.
Jayel Aheram PRO 8 years ago
Oh no! You were supposed to join the Commons? I wonder if they are going to fix that.
Would be nice - but even if not we still want people to help us tag/describe the photos from the Centennial Gathering Days and hope to increase the collection over time.
bridgetmckenz PRO 8 years ago
Hello, I'm Bridget McKenzie. I joined this group as soon as it was formed but it's taken me this long to read the messages and realise that George has been laid off. I'm really sorry to hear it. She has been such a fantastic mediator and promoter of the Commons. It is a project that obviously takes a lot of work, decision-making and development, and I hope that it won't languish without her. I'm also thinking of her personally and shocked at the way she was treated. I'm not attached to a collection but run a company that works in digital strategy & audience engagement for cultural collections & museums.
swoodie PRO 8 years ago
I'm Sara. I work for Flickr and plan to be spending a lot more time on the Commons. My background is a funny combination of web, NGO and int'l where I have spent much of my career advocating vocally for open access to data. That means I have passed many many hours working with incredible librarians, media archivists, statisticians, engineers, researchers, etc. The Commons is a shining jewel in that space and I am thrilled and honored to be here.
kakul 8 years ago
I'm Kakul and I work at Flickr too. I'm mostly here to see how I can help the Commons and the community around the Commons continue to rock.
pathlost PRO 8 years ago
I'm interested in travel, especially to historic sites. Also in how the world around us is under constant change and how photographs can act as a group memory. The commons is a superb initiative to allow people to explore and learn from information otherwise geographically inaccessible and I hope this may long continue!
Madame Maracas 8 years ago
Hiyas all!

My most persistent online persona is that of Madame Maracas, my Second Life alter ego, so we'll stick with that.

Out in "meatspace" I've got 6 years experience as a tour guide & large vehicle driver (double decker busses and trolleys) on the streets of Chicago, that and a general overriding interest in local history has filled my brain with random facts, stories and bits of information about the city and the metro area.

I really have enjoyed trolling through the archives of incredible images collected here and look forward to seeing them expand.

Thanks so much for the group invite!
Lú_ PRO 8 years ago
Hi all! (with an extra wave to Kakul :) ) I can't wait to see all the ways the activity around The Commons grows and changes with such a variety of people talking about it!
rebamex 8 years ago
Hi all

My name is Rebecca. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and am a relative newcomer to Flickr. I love the idea of being able to populate my photostream with images of the South Africa that I know and love, and allowing people to use, reuse and share them.

I work for an organisation called the African Commons Project, and we do a lot of work around developing online heritage collections and preserving culture digitally, as well as developing the digital commons in Southern Africa, so I guess this group is the perfect fit! Thanks for the invite.
Carl Gardner PRO 8 years ago
I'm Carl, a blogger highly focused on words but also trying to use images to complement them in an interesting way that's totally legal - so of course I love what's going on here.

Thanks, Anna!
Thanks for the invitation BigBean! I'm Francesca, online producer at The Art Gallery of NSW, we've only recently joined the Flickr community and are quietly working it all out. I've been a huge fan of The Commons Project since it began and have followed the Powerhouse & Brooklyn Museum's contributions in particular. I'm now blown away by how the community have taken the baton from George and provided a great new way to not only get to know the rest of the institutions in the Commons but other interested people as well.

We have an amazing archivist at the Gallery, Steven Miller, who is keen to show the world some of the treasures in he AGNSW library (see It may take us a little while to get up to speed but we hope to contribute to the Commons Project soon.

Thanks again! 8 years ago

We are Tresoar.

Tresoar was founded on September 1st, 2002, by a merger of three separate institutes that dealt with Frisian History and Literature.

The “Provinsjale en Buma Biblioteek fan Fryslân” (PBF)
Most people knew this library as PBF. The PBF was a provincial organisation set up in 1852 with the purpose of, among other things, looking after two important book collections, i.e. the library of the Franeker University and the Hof van Friesland library. A significant part of the PBF was the Buma Library with a mass of books on classical languages and ancient times. The Fuks collection was donated in the 1990s. The PBF became a scientific reference library providing information in many different fields, such as language and literature, history (of arts), social science and science of law, philosophy and theology. However, the focus of attention was on the language, the history and the culture of the Frisian lands. The Fuks collection was also focussed on the literature on Hebrew and Jewish language and literature.

The Ryksargyf
The Ryksargyf used to be part of the Public Record Office that came under the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science. The Ryksargyf was established as a Provincial Archive in 1840. The archives held at the Ryksargyf were for the bigger part from the Friesland based State and Provincial authorities, such as the Courts, Public Works and the Provincial Council. Private archives were also held under trust, like those from churches, political parties and private companies. At the Ryksargyf, visitors could be searching for a large variety of information, ranging from mediaeval monasteries to the building history of a particular memorial.

The Frysk Letterkundich Museum en Dokumintaasjesintrum (FLMD)
The FLMD was established in 1959 by a group of Frisian linguists believing there was a need for a special institute to protect the Frisian literary historian heritage. The FLMD was holding an impressive collection of books and magazines. Of special interest was the collection of letters and manuscripts of authors and the archives of the Fryske Beweging (Frisian Movement), an institute for the preservation and promotion of the Frisian language. The FLMD was also running a museum collecting and exhibiting photographs, portraits and items of every day use on the same topic. The institute was reaching out to all kinds of cultural events in Fryslân and in the Frisian language, acting as some kind of shop-window for the Frisian language in every way.

It is…….


The new institute

The new institute has combined the three major and most important collections, mainly relating to Frisian literature and history. The various search systems are overlapping one another in order to enable optimum access.
Following the merger, the new institute can offer more than the three earlier organisations combined. Tresoar is aiming to reach out to a wider and varied audience through improving the supply and stimulating the demand. The new institute has a bilingual (Dutch and Frisian) character.


Mission Statement

Tresoar, the centre for history and literature, aims to become the focus in Friesland for demand and supply of high-quality information, particularly on culture, history and literature, physically and/or virtually brought together, and to stimulate knowledge and science. Tresoar will not only encourage people using the Friesland collection, but also organise activities and give advice on history, literature and culture. Tresoar will be pleased to convey such information and expertise to citizens and authorities alike.
BigBean PRO 8 years ago
wow! That's quite the introduction,
: )


And also welcome to Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carl and rebamex!
nha.library 8 years ago
Georgen, Nantucket Historical Association here.

I've joined flickr, sent in my contract, uploaded one set of photos (, and now hope to be involved in the Commons.

Now, what to upload next... ?
Lú_ PRO 8 years ago
That's really exciting! Welcome here and, we hope, to The Commons :)
whatsthatpicture PRO 8 years ago
Hi, I'm James, and I seem to have already posted my intro here - Perhaps I should move it!

A quick question, that I did once ask George - what does everyone think about owners of private collections being able to add images to this wonderful place we call The Commons?
zyrcster Posted 8 years ago. Edited by zyrcster (admin) 8 years ago
Hi James, and welcome to the group! Perhaps you could copy over some of your intro here?

That's a great question, and I welcome you to open a topic about it. It would be simpler to have a focused discussion in its own thread rather than having it get jumbled in with all the introductions. :)
whatsthatpicture PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by whatsthatpicture (moderator) 8 years ago
zyrcster you're absolutely right, on both counts, so here's the bio....

My day job is managing the website at Kew ( and we had been talking with George about getting some images into The Commons. Unfortunately we're in the middle of a major relaunch project so it won't be happening for a while.

But I also have a huge personal passion for vintage photographs. I buy, sell, collect and digitise pictures, and I run a website aimed at helping people identify old pictures - see (but please be kind - it is suffering from lack of time and technical skill to develop all the ideas I have).

And here's the new thread....
christine_lucas2008 8 years ago
Hi Im Christine

Ive just joined the commons. I have a passion for animals, especially Red Pandas.

I am from Liverpool, yet love the city of Edinburgh

I look forward to discussing with you all :)
MarkH V&A 8 years ago
Hi, I'm Mark, and I am one of the web team responsible for the V&A website ( and just like James at Kew (above) we had been talking on and off with George about getting some of our images into The Commons.

And just like the team at Kew we're also currently working on a redesign/relaunch of our main website. However we're going to do our best to get a selection of images into The Commons regardless, we'll just have to fit it in around the other priorities...

Outside my day job I've been flickring since 2005, and I started our first flickr group at the museum (Victoria and Albert Museum). Since when we've tried out a few other flickr based activities.

We've been particularly inspired by the projects being dreamed up by the awesome Shelley Bernstein and her team at Brooklyn and we've been encouraged and supported both by Fiona and of course everyone's flickr superhero, George.

Thanks to Anna for creating this group and inviting us on board.
MartyDev PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by MartyDev (member) 8 years ago
Mark, the V&A on The Commons - now that would be interesting...!

I'm Martin, I'm an archivist by day (@ The British Postal Museum & Archive) and enthusiastic amateur photographer by night (and any other time I can). As part of my day job, I work managing the cataloguing of a large(ish) photographic collection and looking after the cataloguing systems.

The Commons fascinates me - the very idea of putting what might be termed special collections in the same context as the photo collections of millions of ordinary users is fantastic.

I'd love the BPMA to be involved in The Commons and, who knows, it could be something we'd do in the future. Its photograph collections would be a great counterpart to the postal collections of the Smithsonian.
vintagepix PRO 8 years ago
Hello, I'm Carolyn - I'm mainly a lurker who will occasionally post information for a photo when the spirit moves me to do some research (though I am trying very hard not to get distracted by the Commons - honestly why must you wave all these shiny objects at me? ;o).

I'm currently a freelance local history researcher & sometime artist in SE Wisconsin (Metro Milwaukee) but I worked in the museum field for about 10 years including the National Museum of American History/Smithsonian (where I was a lowly peon on the Science in American Life exhibition development team in the early '90s); various museums around Indianapolis where I got my MA in Public History from IUPUI, and a stint as archivist/curator in a house museum in North Carolina.

As my screen name suggests, I am fascinated by old photos.
Azchael PRO 8 years ago
Hi, I am Max and I got interested in the Commons from the very beginning. I love photos, whether taken by me or taken by others and am very keen in impressions from around the world of older times. I think the Commons are a wonderful way of really making human history available to everybody, not just in plain text, such as e.g. Wikipedia, but in real pictures...
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