Here’s another great example of how to attract users and use Flickr in the process.
This summer, the British Library put on an exhibit called “The Ramayana: Love and Valour in India’s Great Epic.” Essentially, the exhibit was showcasing illuminated manuscripts of the epic story of Rama, and had a slate of other programming to accompany it. Hundreds of manuscript images were on display, and, in a wonderful moment of extreme Library 2.0 fever, someone decided to start a Flickr group to assemble some users takes on Ramayana imagery.
Because this exhibit is now closed, it is hard for me to tell exactly how much the Flickr group was promoted, or how accessible it was from the front page of the library. However, it is prominently displayed on the exhibit page, so assuming that at one time “Ramayana” was under the “Quick Links” section for new library materials, the Flickr group would have been a mere two clicks away!
This exhibit was based around manuscripts and their illuminations, and given the British Library’s importance in the field of historical materials as well as their substantial collection of online images, it seems to me that this Flickr set is right at home amongst the library’s other offerings.
Again, I would just like to mention how easy it is to make a Flickr group like this one, and it attracted 123 members and 264 user-added photos. Even if many of those users were not able to attend the exhibit, the free promotion opportunity from a resource like this is a wonderful thing. Because Web 2.0 tools in library can sometimes be a controversy, I feel they tend to draw attention easily. And, as they say, any publicity is good publicity.
I think this was a great application of Flickr, probably didn’t take much time and helped pump up the promotional materials and events that were surrounding the exhibit. I’m fairly sure that even if patrons of the library didn’t submit photos themselves, more that a few may have checked out the group on Flickr. Apparently they were advertising the group inside the exhibit, as well. The article points out something interesting, though: photography was prohibited inside. Unfortunately for the Flickr group, this may have seemed like a confusing contradiction, to be encouraged to share photos that you are not allowed to take.
In closing, keep it up BL. I haven’t seen a Flickr group for any of your other exhibits though. I’d like to see one live and in action.