Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tag is Better Than Hide and Seek

I started using Flickr in August 2007, and now have 12,,814 (and counting) photos stored there. These items have been viewed 187,336 times, with referrals coming from Flickr itself, Google Images, Facebook, Twitter and various other sites.

When I started out, I had no idea of the volume of work I would create. It was easy enough to scroll through my account to find images that I needed. My first organizational tool was the Sets option, which allows the user to create albums of related pictures, which can then be manipulated as a unique entity. Collections are where I then group Sets of similar content.

By far the most useful tool, however, is tagging:
"Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags ... which enable searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter. Flickr was also an early website to implement tag clouds, which provide access to images tagged with the most popular keywords." -Wikipedia
I now tag each photo that I upload with as many useful keywords as I can think of - month, season, location, genre, etc. For example, Hometown Graffiti has some inherent visual interest, but by tagging it with "Jimmer Fredette, " "Jimmer," "Brigham Young," and "BYU," I ensured a much wider audience: 525 views, to date.

There have been a number of interesting connections made because of my Flickr tags, as people search online for a wide range of information.

A woman in Washington state saw some photos I took in a local cemetery and asked if I could look for additional family headstones. When I was able to comply, she wrote

"The photos are perfect and are worth more than gold to me! Pictures support my family connections between Amos, Hannah and Amos Jr. conclusively... As I mentioned before, I am trying to tie up loose ends so I may present our family genealogy history to my dad for Christmas. I've been working on this project for over 6 years.
Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and generosity. You made my day!"

My Crandall Public Library set, taken in the newly-renovated facility, brought this request from Iowa:

My library is currently creating a slideshow illustrating our need for a new library building. I was wondering if I could use some of your photos as examples of what our library could look like.


The most recent contact, and farthest afield, came from Bonifacio Global City, Philippines:

"...We understand that you are the owner of the copyright of the Actaea Pachypoda Baneberry found in this link. We humbly ask for the high resolution copy of this image to use in the Kingdom Plantae exhibit in the Mind Museum and also for your permission to do so..."

How cool is that!

Unfortunately, I didn't understand the value of tagging when I first starting archiving my photos. I sometimes feel like I'm playing a game of hide and seek as I search for images I uploaded back when labeling was not a concern. According to my Flickr stats, 7,278 items are tagged, 5,536 are not. Believe me, it's much easier to tag as you go, rather than trying to backtrack.

Tagging only takes a few minutes of your time, but its value is immense. By consistently attaching keywords to photographs, you make it easier for yourself - and others - to locate and *use your images.

*Except for some portraits and my husband's artwork, I attach CC permission to the bulk of my photographs.

"Old Photos" by dmcordell


Cathy Jo Nelson said...

Now THAT is fantastic!! What an honor Diane. Eventually you are going to be asked to snap photos for $! Add that to your resume of honors and achievements.

Paul C said...

Most interesting. I often neglect not to tag a blog post with pertinent words and phrases. Would that initiate more interaction and hits?

diane said...

Thanks, Cathy! I'm hardly a professional, yet every once in a while, magic happens :-)


Posting to 365 project groups, then sharing a link via Twitter, Facebook, and Plurk, brings initial viewers. Tagging ensures continued interaction - sometimes a year or more after the photo is first posted on Flickr.

Keywords/tags give your work longevity.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks will share with teachers new to tagging.

Jabiz said...

woops that last comment was me.