Friday, August 17, 2007

Flickr ideas forum

I just posted something in the Flickr ideas forum:

I work in a liberal arts college library that is building an institutional collection of digital images (primarily of art and architecture) to support teaching. Many other colleges and universities are doing the same thing.

The problem is, the digital asset management systems that we're using (MDID, ContentDM) aren't that great. They don't have the elegance and functionality of Flickr's web interface or image management tools. This is really a drawback, especially when we're trying to get faculty to build their own personal image collections online and share them with the institutional collection.

The other drawback of using these digital asset management systems is that they are isolated systems--they must be maintained locally and they don't share data nicely in a Web 2.0 sort of fashion like Flickr.

If Flickr had organization-level capabilities, it could potentially revolutionize digital asset management in this arena. The main things missing now are:

1. an organizational account designed for larger scale use, in which several users could administer images (different than current groups capability)
2. capability to authorize a large body of users without flickr accounts to see certain photos through IP recognition, LDAP authentication, etc. (necessary because some of the images we manage have copyright restrictions)

I realize that opening up the Flickr platform to organizations could alter the flavor of the community. But perhaps it could be done in a way that preserved the spirit of Flickr. Perhaps only organizational collections that fit certain criteria would be elgible for inclusion in the broader body of Flickr work.

Opening up Flickr in this way could enrich it.

Mark Dahl
Lewis & Clark College

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