FRANK MILLER, Picture Editor
Irish Times
22 Feb 2012

**Photos onsite

THE NATIONAL Library of Ireland is using social media to build knowledge about its collection of photographs. Like memories, photos fade and are frequently lost, but some survive across generations and centuries.

Over the years the library has amassed a collection of more than 630,000 images – in fact, too many photographs for librarians to catalogue in the short term.

In many cases there is little or no information about the images in the collection. To glean more details, the library has begun to make the images available free online to the public through the photo-sharing website Flickr.

To date they have made 744 images available to view, download, share and comment upon.

Run by the library’s social media co-ordinator Carol Maddock, the project has been a huge success, with online visitors overtaking actual visitors to the library premises.

Information from the public has started to flow, in turn providing valuable background details of the photos in the collection.

Take, for example, an image titled Armoured car with soldiers in the background by photographer WD Hogan around 1922.

When it was uploaded on January 7th, the library staff didn’t even know where the image was taken.

Thanks to the dialogue that flowed on Flickr, they now know that the photo

To view the Flickr collection and add your knowledge see: