This week I learned about “Flickr”, the web-based tool to store and share photos. “My Friend Flickr”, we might call it. It’s handy, easy to use, and though limited in the amount of space one gets for free, worth a try.
Can it be used in libraries? Sure! A quick gander at one of our shared drives on our network shows more than a hundred photos haphazardly arranged (what librarian is in charge of this task??) into folders in a file called “Library Image Collection”. Were they stored instead on a resource like “Flickr”, they could also be put into folders, but also tagged for easier retrieval and/or searching. Handy indeed.
The other (and actually most immediate) reason I thought to use a service like “Flickr” is for archiving purposes. I almost learned this lesson the hard way last summer when my laptop experienced an unexpected crash. Fortunately for a small fortune and the promise of my firstborn puppy, I was able to salvage 98% of what was on my hard drive. But during those agonizing days waiting to see if things could be recovered, I realized that what I would truly miss more than anything else in the loss of my laptop were all of my pictures.
Since purchasing a digital camera a few years back, I rarely print out pictures anymore. Instead I keep them in my iPhoto, share them via email, look at them through slide shows, etc. Thus, a hard drive crash could have meant the loss of hundreds of photos of holidays, celebrations, vacations, and even our cross-country trip from the year before. How sad would that be?!
I was lucky in the recovery of my hard drive this time and since have backed up my photos on disks and a separate external drive, but an online photo service is another great option to preserve photos – and their accompanying memories – for the future.