NASA opens photo-sharing site

Visitors can leave comments on 180 historic NASA photos

NASA has a new partnership with Flickr Commons that expands public access to the space agency's historic photos and allows online comments.

The agency has launched the NASA on The Commons photo archive on the Flickr Commons photo-sharing Web site. Visitors can leave comments, tags and keywords on the photos,as well as offer identifying or descriptive information or general remarks.

To date, NASA on The Commons contains 102 images of NASA rocket launches, 44 images of NASA buildings and construction, and 32 images of NASA officials and dignataries. The images had recorded a total of more than 20,000 views as of today.

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Many of the published images have attracted comments. “Cool!” wrote one visitor. “What an incredible moment in the history of space exploration,” wrote another guest, referring to a photograph of President John F. Kennedy visiting a NASA space center. “That is Dr. Evil sitting behind JFK,” joked another visitor.

The capability to interact with photos is the result of a partnership between NASA, Flickr from Yahoo! and the Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library based in San Francisco, according to a NASA news release dated Aug. 30.

Flickr Commons was established in cooperation with the Library of Congress to expand access to publicly held photography collections. The library maintains thousands of its own photographs on Flickr.

The New Media Innovation Team at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., worked with photo and history experts to compile the images for NASA on The Commons. Additional images will be added over time.

In a related project, NASA created to provide thousands of photographic images and videos to the public. The Internet Archive was chosen through a competitive process to organize that collection.

"NASA's long-standing partnership with Internet Archive and this new one with Yahoo!'s Flickr provides an opportunity for the public to participate in the process of discovery," Debbie Rivera, project lead for the NASA Images project at the agency's headquarters in Washington, said in the news release. "In addition, the public can help the agency capture historical knowledge about missions and programs through this new resource and make it available for future generations."

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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