Photo of female aircraft worker, 1942The Library of Congress is working hard to encourage people to use its digital collections, so it’s begun a new site on Flickr called The Commons. Basically, it’s a big pile of historical photos available free for everyone to rummage through – and I’m, of course, thinking about young people looking for pictures to use for assignments and for fun.

They’re inviting everyone to tag (or leave comments on) individual photos in the collection – which, if you’re a librarian, is both a slightly scary and an extremely cool idea. What will happen when we let the general public catalog one of the LOC’s collections? The photo I’m using here is of a female Vega Aircraft Corporation worker, taken in 1942. If you go to the page with the original photo, you can get more information on it, and read the comments folks have already left.

Come to think of it, librarians, this could be an interesting project for any young people you work with regularly – what terms would they use to tag these pictures? It could be an interesting look at what librarians are trained to do.