Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Public Knowledge about Historical Photographs

The Library of Congress’s Flickr Commons project and the German National Archive’s Wikimedia Commons project are covered in “Historical Photos in Web Archives Gain Vivid New Lives.” An excerpt:
Compared with the stream of photographs being uploaded (an estimated three million a day on Flickr alone), the historical material can seem a mere trickle. Yet over the last year there have been important new efforts to put these classics online, both to find new audiences for material typically used by researchers and to use those audiences to breathe new meaning into photographs from long ago.
The increased visibility of and access to these digitized photographs can both create and harness knowledge about historical images.

Image at top: A teletypewriter, 1930, from the Deutsches Bundesarchiv and available from:,_Fernschreibmaschine_mit_Telefonanschluss.jpg.

Image below: Switch lists coming in by teletype to the hump office at a Chicago and Northwestern railroad yard, Chicago, Ill, 1942, from the Library of Congress and available from