Photo Sharing

Swing into Photo Sharing

One of the most popular activities online is uploading photos and sharing them through a variety of tools.  This week’s module gets you started on building your own photo album, and introduces you to some of the ways to work with those images.

flickr is arguably the most popular site for managing your photos online.  It allows you to post photos, organise them into sets and galleries, add tags, edit photos, pin them to a map, and join groups of other users with similar interests.  Hundreds of libraries have already discovered the power of flickr to promote their services and programs, including Boroondara Libraries.  Check out the photo set of previous Learning 2.0 participants!

There are lots of other photo sites, which we’ll look at later.  But for now, let’s get started with Flickr logo. If you click it, you'll go home.

Activity #1: Set up a flickr Account

Visit to set up a new account.  If you already have an account with Yahoo! (which owns flickr), Facebook or Gmail, you can sign up with any of those existing accounts.  Once you have created the account, click on You to access Your Account, where you can enter as much information as you like about yourself (your profile), modify your privacy settings, and decide who gets access to your photos.  For additional information in getting started, visit this short video tutorial.

Activity #2: Search Photos

Enter a keyword term into the search box (e.g. libraries) and bring up public photos with that keyword.  Click on any photo to enlarge it, see who owns it, any tags or descriptions, and other information.  You can also post a comment to a photo if the owner has set that option.

Activity #3: Search Groups

At the top of the page, click on Groups, then enter a search term in the Find a Group search box to find groups that share your interests.  For example, searching “libraries”, you’ll discover over 6000 groups that share photos about libraries!  You can even start your own group.

Activity #4: Upload a Photo

Now it’s time to get into the action and upload your own photos.  At the top of the page, click Upload, then follow the directions to load a photo from your computer, your camera or your phone.  Once the photo is loaded, add a title, a description, and a tag so people can find your photo.  The photo then becomes part of your photostream, and can be shared with others.  Need some assistance with uploading?  Check out this short tutorial:



You can also check with your colleagues, and of course your mentors are always here to help you!

Activity #5: The Creative Commons; The Commons

flickr has many other useful features as well.  If you’re looking for some photos to spice up your blog post, check out the millions of photos whose owners have made them available to other users under a Creative Commons license.  For example, you can copy some photos for free as long as you give the owner credit for the image, depending on the licensing.

Also worth exploring is The Commons (not to be confused with the Creative Commons.)  Here you’ll find photo collections held by some of the world’s largest archives, libraries and other institutions, including the National Library of Australia, and the Australian War Memorial Collection.  Click on any of the participating organizations to see their photostream, and to add tags and comments to any image.  A great resource for students!


For this activity, click on Explore, and visit the Creative Commons and The Commons, and think about ways to use these resources at the library.


Congratulations!  Now that you’re part of the online photo sharing community, let’s look at a few other tools to use with online images.

Further Exploration

Alternate Photo sharing Sites

Because photo sharing is so popular, there are other sites which provide the same service as flickr.  Picasa is a Google product, which features additional photo editing tools as well as a facial recognition tool for sorting uploads.  Zooomr provides unlimited bandwidth and uploading, and a ‘zipline’ that lets you see what your contacts are doing. has added moderated forums that make a great place to talk about all aspects of photography.  From a library point of view, it’s also worth having a look at the policies of these and other photo sharing sites regarding their stances on censorship.

Other Related Tools

Tired of flickr and want to move to another site?  Migratr is a free tool that allows you to shift your photos from one site to another, including sets, descriptions and tags. Mashups allow users to combine functions from two or more websites, and flickr has made it possible to create mashups using its public photos.  John’s Background Switch (JBS) changes the background photo on your desktop on a regular basis, drawing photos from flickr.  Multicolr makes it possible to search flickr photos based on specific colour choices.  And there are many more mashups to explore! 

For your blog post this week, tell us about your experience setting up a photo sharing site, what you found on flickr, and how you could use it in your work.  If you had a chance to do some extra exploring, what sites did you visit, what caught your attention, and how could a library make use of these tools?  Also, please comment on some of the blog posts of your colleagues.

Welcome to the end of Week 3!  You’ve absorbed a lot of information over the past three weeks, so now it’s time to swing into play.  Explore some of the tools further, find some new ones, and share what you found.  There are new tools being developed all the time!


Creative Commons License


This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael StephensTransformative Literacies class in the Fall of 2012.  This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored by Thomas Knutson for Boroondara (Australia) Libraries staff. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.



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