Te Ara on Flickr

From our Flickr photos: Clowns at the Levin A & P show (click to view on Flickr)

Did you know Te Ara is on Flickr? We’ve been using Flickr as a photosharing and research tool for the last year. Our former Resources Team Leader Shirley Williams began Te Ara’s group and photostream, then Deb Sidelinger enlarged it and now Emily Tutaki (who is currently reclining with a beer somewhere in Greece) and I administer Flickr for Te Ara.

Te Ara has 164 contacts on Flickr, and many of them contribute regularly to Te Ara’s group pool. The group pool was created so that others could add their photos of New Zealand, its landscape and culture. Some of our big Flickr contributors are Deirdre McCoskrie – Light and Time, Branxhom, Ian@NZFlickr, PhillipC, >Russ< and Sandy Austen whanau. There are many others and we thank you all for uploading your beautiful and fascinating images. As well as contributing images, Flickr users are able to comment on images or mark them as favourites. So far, this is our most commented-on photograph, while this is our most viewed one.

The Te Ara photostream is full of photographs taken by Te Ara staff, past and present. Staff members upload photographs they have taken for work and of places that have caught their eye. Some of the biggest staff contributors are Jock Phillips and Janine Faulknor, who busily photograph landscapes, towns and quirky local attractions for the Places entries. The Hawke’s Bay regional entry is coming up soon and we will be adding photographs taken by Jock, Janine and the entry writer, Kerryn Pollock, to our Flickr photostream.

In an earlier blog post Carl talked about geotagging, and we’ve been experimenting with geotagging for the last few months. A Flickr user, Ray Tomes, raised the idea on our discussion board and we’ve started to geotag our images when we can.

For the last three Places entries, we have included a Flickr exhibition. We use a flash slideshow called Pictobrowser to pull in the Flickr images. Because there is only limited space for images in each Places entry, the Flickr exhibition allows us to show more of the wonderful images and locations of each region. The latest Flickr exhibition is from the Otago entry, and we will shortly be inviting people to add their photos to the Hawke’s Bay exhibition.

Flickr is also playing a part in the upcoming Economy and the City theme. We resource researchers often turn to Flickr for contemporary photographs, or for photographs of places we can’t get to – like this one from Paris advertising the 2011 Rugby World Cup. And I was happy to find this photograph of two young boys mowing the lawn in 1970 on Flickr. It’s from a family collection; personal images like this one are hard to find in traditional archives.

Flickr members have also come to our rescue in our search for images during the Settled Landscape theme. We posted a list of hard to find images – including a photograph of a cow sniffing or licking a possum – and asked for our Flickr contacts to help us out. We’ve received some useful feedback, including this photograph of a brown quail supplied by Sandy Austen whanau. We’re still waiting for the one with the cow and the possum…

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