Monday, December 18, 2006

Consider Flickr - A Powerful Tool for Images

Flickr, possibly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world, is a great Web 2.0 tool for photos and digital images. I started using it about a month ago, and I am completely hooked. My personal photo collection on Flickr has over a thousand photos. The beauty of this tool is that it allows you to do more than upload photos to the web for storage and viewing. The organizational power of Flickr is impressive. You can arrange your photos into named sets and connect any appropriate photos to user groups within Flickr. The groups can be your own creation, or you can join existing groups.

But, the true power of Flickr comes from the ability to "tag" photos. A tag (sometimes known to Web folks as a meta-tag) is a descriptive word that identifies a photo. For example, a photo of the exterior of Erlanger's Baroness Campus could be tagged as "erlanger," "chattanooga" "hospital," "healthcare", "hamiltoncounty," and "trauma." Within Flickr, a search by these words will take you to the photo.

Flickr also is a social network. Through the groups feature, or by specifically inviting participants to join as a Flickr contact, you will see their photos as well as them seeing yours. You send each potential contact an email with a link to Flickr. If they are not interested, they can safely ignore the invitation.

Flickr also is very smart in terms of digital image rights and privacy. Any image can be identified as "public," that is, anyone can see it, or as "private," with only friends and family allowed. Further, the intellectual property rights of your photos can be completely controlled through legal restrictions and permissions set up through Creative Commons. If you want people to use your photos, but only with attribution, that is one option.

Recently, Flickr expanded its free service to allow users to upload up to 100 MB per month. That is a lot of images. Paid subscription users have no limits on how many pictures they upload and no space limit either - this for $25 per year.

For Flickr details, go to:

I set up at Flickr site for the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga at Erlanger, if you want to view the photo collection, go to: