The Commons is a division of Flickr set up to share public domain archives with the world. They have partnered with archive powerhouses like the Library of Congress, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Smithsonian Institute to name a few.

The project was launched at the beginning of the year and has been wildly successful. Within 24 hours of their appearance, there had been 650,000 viewings of the images, and comments were added to more than 500 pictures. Some 4,000 unique tags were also added. It also lead to the discovery that negatives from Lincoln’s inauguration had been previously mislabeled.

There are thousands of interesting images offered on the site. Like this image of Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson at the 1911 World Series. Many of them large enough to make big prints if you wanted.

The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.

The program has two main objectives:

  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. (Then watch what happens when they do!)