Archiving on Flickr – Collections, catalogs and community await!


Flickr is home to millions of photos and has been a go-to for photographers, collectors, researchers and casual browsers since 2004. Archiving, simply put, is placing something in storage, be it a file cabinet or a digital cloud. We make it easy to upload your images to Flickr, we safely store those images and, if you are so inclined to share that content, we provide an easy way for other enthusiasts to find and appreciate your photos. Because storing digital archives on Flickr is straightforward and we’ve been doing it for two decades, we are lucky to host many robust and diverse collections of images that span across different subjects and themes, available to enthusiasts and researchers alike. If you’d like to make better use of the features and community connections offered on Flickr for your own images, we invite you to come on over and see how you can add Flickr to your archiving workflow. 

Boxes in the University Archives

A photographer, an archivist

Earlier this year, we highlighted Flickr member and archivist Elvert Barnes. Elvert photographs the changing world around him and has stored his detailed photo collection on Flickr since 2005. Throughout the past decade, Elvert has built a catalog of over 300,000 images on Flickr, photographing current events, his travels, and the community around him. If you find yourself capturing daily life through your own photography and want to organize it and share it, then check out Elvert’s site to see how he has made archiving images on Flickr a regular part of his process. 


A visit to the digital archives

The Flickr Foundation is an independent, community-focused organization whose mission is to ensure that Flickr’s collection of photos is preserved and remains available to share with future generations. With that mission in mind, it is safe to say that they take archiving on Flickr very seriously. When we think of archiving at its most professional level, we think about the organizations that take part in Flickr Commons, a program managed by the Flickr Foundation in collaboration with over 100 cultural institutions.

220 Years of the Library of Congress--from cards to computers, recording and retrieving information for all (LOC)

Institutions like U.S National Archives and the Library of Congress use Flickr regularly to not only assist in cataloging their digital content but also to increase public accessibility of that content. As Flickr Commons organizations continue with their important archival work, we wanted to make sure you get an introduction to the unique digital collections that these organizations store here on Flickr. With a quick visit to their sites, you can see the album, gallery and collection organization they’ve implemented and the important caption and tagging work being done to assist in storing these historical items and maybe, you will find some new ways to apply those practices to your own archives.

Young couple dancing at VFW dance on occasion of Fourth of July celebration. Price, Carbon County, Utah.
Gonzalla Sullivan, miner, with his two children and another child who lives in the neighborhood. Koppers Coal Division, Federal #1 Mine, Grant Town, Marion County, West Virginia.
Welch is the shopping and entertainment center for the nearby mining camps. Welch, McDowell County, West Virginia.

Find your community

We recently highlighted the train photography community on Flickr, in honor of National Train Day earlier this month. They are an excellent example of how you can use Flickr to not only store and organize your collections of photos, but also how you can use Flickr to connect with other enthusiasts who share your same passions. Flickr members in these communities not only upload and tag their photos in a way that helps increase the discoverability of their images but many also seek out Flickr groups focused on those similar themes. This is where archiving on Flickr really stands out, bringing that next level of engagement which further sustains these archives through continued storytelling, sharing, and community building.  

Tube Underground London 3D

See how it’s done

Collectors and archivists on Flickr range from topics all across the board – trains, Legos, cars, historical content and so much more. Check out some of these collections for some inspiration!

Old car

Cars – Pre 1940 Antique Cars Flickr Group

The bookman. For sale here.

Posters – Boston Public Library’s American Art Posters 1890-1920 Album


Legos- LEGO in Nature Gallery

Getting started

We’ve covered some of the ways Flickr members are utilizing Flickr to best preserve images that they hold dear. If you want to get started on organizing your own unique catalogs of images, we’ve included some links to highlight ways to get started.

See you in the Flickr community!

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