Photos, Flickr, RSS and Cataloging
Culture is not a Crime. Photo (cc) Dawn Endico.
Following the undocumented Technorati feeds, it seems that Flickr also has some useful undocumented feeds. If you want to pull out the latest photos tagged archaeology from Flickr it’s fairly simple, you can just go to the archaeology page and subscribe from there. However playing with the URL reveals that to pull the latest photos licenced under a Creative Commons licence you only need add the l attribute. So to get a tag type in:
This can be used to produce a Creative Commons Archaeology photo feed. To get photos for commercial use you simply change the l=cc to l=comm. This is how Unseen Treasures has suddenly started gaining photos along with blog post titles.
Potentially this is very useful at it provides an easy way to list recent CC photos in a easily manipulated manner. I’ve played around with Pipes to produce this reformatted feed with larger copies of the photos. This in turn can be fed into a copy of wordpress automatically, producing this site showing the latest photos. At the moment it’s not that much use, but in the future it may be. The next iteration of WordPress is scheduled to have tagging. If this is the case, and it’s similar to the UTW plugin then it could suddenly become much more useful.
The drawback with searching in Flickr is you have to have a very good idea of what you’re looking for AND for the photo submitter also to have a good idea — and speak the same language. I was recently looking for images of women on black figure pottery and for images of an aulêtris. The Chiron group should be a good source of photos, but one problem is that many fo the speakers have tagged the images in their own languages. Not only should I have been looking for a woman, but also a mujer, femme and donna. I think insisting that Flickr tags all be in English would be a stupid idea, but nor can I add extra tags myself. A WordPress blog picking CC licenced photos should allow readers to tag the entries in the WordPress database, if not on Flickr. This would make the images blog an additional assistant to searching the Flickr database.
At the moment I’m using a slightly modified version of the FeedWordPress plugin. If or when WordPress has tag support it shouldn’t be impossible to modify it further for it to store Flickr tags as tags in the WordPress database and allow readers to add more to make it more useful. The question is where to pull the photos from? I could leave it pointed at the creative commons licenced feeds. An alternative would be set up a group rather like Chiron for creative-commons licenced archaeology photos from around the globe.
I’ll be leaving images.clioaudio.com running till October to see how the system works. It should update every couple of hours, if there are new photos for it to see. In the longer term I may take it down depending on whether or not people think it’s useful. Comments are off on the images site, because if you want to comment on a photo you can click on it and leave a comment where the photographer will see it. I’ll have to modify the template to explain that.
Anyway opinions on whether or not the system would be useful, or if there’s a better bit of software that could do the job are welcome. I did look at Gallery 2, but I don’t think that can import from Flickr.