Recognize this scene? It's the massive fire that tore through a section of downtown Lawrence on Monday. Without captions, though, such images are difficult to identify.
That's why the Library of Congress announced, recently, that it had uploaded more than 3,000 non-copyrighted photographs to the popular online photo-sharing service Flickr. What do these images have in common? The Library of Congress wants to know more about them. The following photo of striking workers, taken some time between 1910 and 1915 in Lowell, is a perfect example:
A January 16 post on the the Library of Congress blog announces that the Library of Congress photoset on Flickr was created in order to "enhance our metadata" -- i.e., improve the information attached to the photos, for the benefit of researchers and posterity.
"We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves," the blog post explains. "For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured."
The Library of Congress's experiment seems to be bearing fruit already. I noticed today that Flickr user BronzePolgara has identified the photo above, taken circa 1940-41, and titled "Factory buildings in Lowell, Mass.?." The building in question, according to BronzePolgara, is now part of Massachusetts Mills, a mixed-income housing development located in a historic mill complex in downtown Lowell. BP even uploaded a photo of the building as it appears today:
Want to lend a hand in this cutting-edge effort? I've posted a handful of LoC photos that were supposedly taken in the Boston area, or feature Boston personalities (baseball players, in most cases). Some of these images have rudimentary caption information; others have best guesses only, indicated by the use of [brackets]. If you've got useful information about one of these images, please post it to the comments section of this Brainiac entry; using my own best judgment, I'll post the info to Flickr. Or else you can visit Flickr's Library of Congress photoset and leave your comments there.
NOTE: To see the full-size version of a photo, click on it.
Readers, the following photo is perhaps my favorite. Who was Eva Morrison? What's going on here? I'd love to find out.
UPDATE: A reader ID'ed Morrison for me. Click here.
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