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I participated in a question-answer session at WilsWorld last week. I enjoyed it and took away several things to think about. At one stage, I said something along the lines of:
Not only can we not expect people to come to the library, but we cannot expect them to come to the library website.
There was some discussion about what it means to be ‘in the flow’ of a user’s behavior.
One response was that the world was increasingly plural: resources might be available in many places. We discussed the example of Picture Australia. Images are available through institutional sites. They are aggregated by the National Library of Australia in Picture Australia, who also exposes them in Google. What was additionally interesting about this service is that they had worked with Flickr to develop a route by which people could contribute their images of Australia to the service. This was on the grounds that Flickr was more ‘in the flow’ than an NLA service might be.
The National Library of Australia has previously exposed its PictureAustralia data to search engines. So what we are seeing here is the Library using web-based platforms – Google and FlickR respectively – to provide environments for discovery and for content contribution. The Library is effectively putting its services where it expects that many potential users will find it most congenial to use them. [Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog: Flickr and the library pictures]
I was interested to read this comment from NLA staff, posted on 1 July, on Flickr:
It is 6 months since we started our PictureAustralia/flickr project. Thanks to your contributions we have met both our goals. PictureAustralia’s collection now contains over 5,000 contemporary flickr images and our site visits have increased by 40%. In order to accurately evaluate the project we would like to get your feedback. We have designed a survey that takes approximately 5 minutes to complete and is accessible from the following link: [Flickr: PictureAustralia: People, places and events]
Not only, apparently, is Flickr a vehicle for collecting input, but it is driving traffic to Picture Austrlia. In the flow ….