The Beauty Of “Crowdsourcing” From Social Media

Photo credit: James Cridland via Flickr

We want to let you know about a correction to a previous post showing a photograph of the Los Angeles Railway W Line in front of the Southwest Museum, dated 1914. Very shortly after we announced the launch of this blog, we heard from the Braun Research Library at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian at the Autry National Center of the American West:

“I was looking at the blog and noticed…the Southwest Museum – the date of the photograph is 1920 – the scaffolding that you see is for the Elevator shaft that was added in late 1919 early 1920 when then the tunnel and elevator were installed.”

One of the benefits of providing web-accessible resources is receiving more detailed or accurate information on items in our collections. In this case, the librarians working in the building in question provided us with a correction that will benefit everybody.

User feedback is a great value-added feature of increased access to resources, and is being embraced by many types of institutions. In the first nine months after the Library of Congress launched its Flickr Commons site, it began enjoying some stunning success with user participation: 4,548 of the 4,615 images had at least one community-provided tag added. Users had not only viewed, but have added enhanced data to nearly 99% of the photos in the collection.

We have corrected the date on the post as well as in Flickr and invite you to look around our Flickr photo collections. If you can further identify dates, people, events, or locations, that’s even better.

If this is any indication of how enhanced access to resources in turn informs us and other users as well on our first day “out there,” we’re encouraged!