I have long used Flickr to post images to my blogs. In addition to posting my own images (effectively backing up my photos), I often search and share images posted by others, often using these to provide visuals for blog posts, coursework, and work-related projects.
My personal Flickr photostream can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emperatrix/
Using Flickr for library instruction
Most web users are familiar with Flickr, whether they use it to showcase their own pictures, to view those of others, or have encountered images hosted on Flickr across the web. However, there is more to Flickr than storing and sharing images. Flickr provides a vast collection of member images licensed under Creative Commons licenses, as well as collections from some of the world’s greatest museums and institutions in the The Commons, many of which can be used for non-commercial purposes.The site also features options to tag images using folksonomy terms, as well as a geotag feature that helps users find images based on location. Instruction librarians can take advantage of these royalty-free images for use in instructional slide shows and tutorials in order to connect with visual learners.
In addition, librarians can make use of Flickr’s user-friendly interface to upload images of library collections, study areas, and labs, or to feature library faculty and staff so that patrons can visualize the variety of resources and services available to them. For instance, a multi-story library that divides the collection by floor can create a visual “map” of the collection by uploading images of each floor with a detailed description of the items located in each area, as well as basic information on how to locate materials by call number. Photos of reference areas and help desks can also help patrons see where they can go for assistance.
Library publications, such as how-to guides and pathfinders can also be posted on Flickr (if saved in an appropriate image format). These items can be linked on the library’s instruction page or homepage, making them available to users, and organized in sets on the library’s Flickr account.
However, it is important to remember that cooperation between the library’s webpage manager and the instruction librarian will be necessary if these visual aids are to be made accessible to patrons. Consideration of how to showcase and/or link images on the library’s homepage will need to be taken into account so that the images serve an effective instructional role.