Originally published in the journal Archival Science, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries has just released under open access terms a report of the Institution’s experience with Flickr Commons. Written by Martin Kalfatovic, Effie Kapsalis, Katherine Spiess, Anne Van Camp, and Mike Edson, the report recounts what the authors deem a mostly successful experiment with Web 2.0, one that provided insights into the opportunities and challenges of both social media and library, archives, and museum collaborations. Stressing the importance of “going where the visitors are,” the report also recognizes that engaging visitors in external commercial venues like Flickr cannot be a replacement for local digital preservation and outreach programs and strategies:
Our Flickr pilot project is part of an emerging strategy to ‘‘go where they are’’ in the Web 2.0 environment. The Smithsonian seeks to ‘‘go there’’ to increase access for educational and research purposes, and fully realize that in doing so we are going to a virtual location that is commercial and not a trusted website in many educational environments. Therefore, our strategy is to use this type of site in context and in parallel with development of access to these collections through Smithsonian web sites.