The Commons on Flickr: what 51 million community members actually do?

Authors Harry van Vliet, Erik Hekman
Publication date 2012
Research groups Human Experience & Media Design
Type Lecture


In January 2008 the online photo-hosting site Flickr introduced a new section entitled The Commons. Its two key goals were to show the hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives to the general public and to give Flickr community members the opportunity to contribute and describe these photos in order to enrich these collections. Surprisingly enough, little empirical research has been done on the actual usage of The Commons by the institutes and Flickr members. In our research we harvested a rich data sample over a 14-week period: 196,822 photos with user-generated content of 1.3 million tags, almost 130,000 comments and more than 22,000 notes. In total, 165,401 members from 188 different countries actively “did something” with the photos. This presentation will analyze this large data sample. In addition to the quantitative findings, we will discuss the qualitative findings regarding the content analysis of tags and comments.

Language English

Erik Hekman

Human Experience and Media Design