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The Commons on Flickr: What 51 Million Members Actually Do?
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The Commons on Flickr: What 51 Million Members Actually Do?

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In January 2008 the online photo hosting site Flickr introduced a new section entitled The Commons. The two key goals of The Commons are (1) to show the hidden treasures in the world’s public ...

In January 2008 the online photo hosting site Flickr introduced a new section entitled The Commons. The two key goals of The Commons are (1) to show the hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives to the general public and; (2) 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 focusing on the actual usage of The Commons by the institutes and by the Flickr members. Institutes have published self-reports and some research has been done by sending these institutes surveys in order to gain insight (Vaughan, 2010). In order to make more accurate claims about the added value of The Commons, a richer data sample is needed that sheds some light on the usage of The Commons by the Institutes and by the Flickr members.

In our research we harvested such a rich data sample over a 14-week period. The data sample contains 196.822 photos with user-generated content such as 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.

During our presentation we will focus on the analysis of this large data sample. One of the surprising conclusions we can draw is that the amount of user-generated content is quite limited. While 96% of the photos contain more than one tag, the institutes themselves added 68% of the 1.3 million found tags. On top of that, almost two thirds of the user-generated tags came from only 10 individual users. Apart from quantitative findings we will discuss qualitative findings concerning the content analysis of tags and comments.

Based on the data analysis of actual user behavior we will reflect on the question whether Flickr The Commons is living up to its goal of reaching out to a community to enrich collections.

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    The Commons on Flickr: What 51 Million Members Actually Do? The Commons on Flickr: What 51 Million Members Actually Do? Presentation Transcript

    • THE COMMONS ON FLICKR WHAT 51 million memberS dO? HEKMAN & VAN VLIET @ AVICOM 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • AGENDA. THIS IS WHAT WE WILL COVER SHORT INTRODUCTION WHO ARE WE? CULTURAL HERITAGE making colections more accessible? the Commons A SOLUTION? RESULTS WHAT DID WE SEE? CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? QUESTIONS WE LOOK FORWARD TO THEM!Thursday, October 11, 12
    • CULTURALHERITAGE RELATIONS AND ROLES ARE CHANGING THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 The relationship between museums and visitors changed due Visitors can play a much more active role, both in the to the influence of technological developments such as the process of making art collections more accessible and that Internet and mobile services this last decade. of enriching collections making them more engaging.Thursday, October 11, 12
    • TAGGING THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Tagging entails assigning labels and/or keywords to a specific item. AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • Roots2share.GL THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Bringing 1,500 photos back to the source, back to Greenland AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • Roots2share.GL THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Encouraging inhabitants of Greenland (Inuit) to contribute to their heritage AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • CULTURALHERITAGE OTHER INITiatives THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 Steve.museum Powerhouse Museum Flickr The CommonsThursday, October 11, 12
    • Flickrthecommons THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? http://www.flickr.com/commons AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • Flickrthecommons THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Not different from the ‘normal’ Flickr AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • Flickrthecommons THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Community members can tag, comment, share and add notes AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • 2008 2009 2010 2011 Flickrthecommons THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Momentarily there are 56 institutions participating AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • 1 3 2 2 1 1 1 24 1 1 11 5 1 Flickrthecommons THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Institutions are spread over the world AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • 120,000 San diego air and space museum 112,610 90,000 60,000 Library of 30,000 congress 14,894 Nationaal archief Museum Of Reykjavík 1,544 31 0 San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives Powerhouse Museum Collection National Library of Ireland on The Commons Texas State Archives Imperial War Museum Collections Flickrthecommons THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? In week 5 of 2012, a total of 196,549 photos were accessible AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • TheCommons Reasons for participation THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 1. Share the hidden treasures momentarily stored away in their archives 2. Opportunity to gain additional knowledge about the shared collections 3. To gain experience in interacting with such a large Web community But did The Commons contribute? 1. We could only find several institutions reports, sharing their experiences 2. Two studies that tried to construct a total picture using surveys 3. But no one actually looked at the activities around these photos! What does the community actually do?Thursday, October 11, 12
    • RESULTS THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 data mining 196,549 photos 105m 672,449 1.3m tags 128,263 views fav’s comments 15,485 22,053 ADDED TO 167,871 188 notes 27,766 users countries groupsThursday, October 11, 12
    • Average of 600,000 tot 900,000 views per week 1. 20,385 photos with more than a 1,000 views 2. Only 3 institutions receive more than 40,000 visits a week 3. Majority (33) less than 10,000 visits per week 4. Even though institutions upload a lot of photos, this does not mean an automatic increase in views. RESULTS THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Views AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • In total 672,449 times users added a photo as favorite by 136,361 users Soldiers goodbye & Bobbie the cat, ca. 1939-ca. 1945 / by Sam Hood 757 comments 5056 favorites RESULTS THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Adding photos as a favorite AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • In week 5 we found 1,348,952 tags Flickr Members 32% Almost one million came from the institutes themselves, not from the community 1. Number of unique tags: 142,361 Institutions 2. Total number of users that added a tag: 6,655 68% RESULTS THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Tags AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • Top 10 taggers TOTAL AMOUNT OF TAGS TVL1970 158206 Gorilla P 42370 others pennylrichardsca 30954 35% Pixel Wrangler 13190 jksmileyy 10091 280,246 tags Harry Angstrom 6682 Eric Hunt. 4997 Wystan 4702 Power users 65% Lú_ 4696 artolog 4358 RESULTS THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Tags AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • Institutions 5% In week 5 we found 128,263 comments by 42,145 users • 5881 comments by 53 institutions • Wow, amazing, beautiful & love most used comments • Some forms of spamming were observed Flickr Members 95% results THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Comments AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • 2,844 5,200 1,065 1,563 1,510 22,364 2,047 2,860 2,810 1,750 RESULTS THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? Users per country (top 10) AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012Thursday, October 11, 12
    • CONCLUSION THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 AND DISCUSSION • In the case of Flickr the Commons: user-generated content is quite limited • Institutions don’t really interact • Low barrier tasks (e.g. to favorite a photo) are done more frequent • More analysis are possible and necessary to get a complete picture • Deeper analysis per institute (e.g. location vs tagging) • Data mining is a fantastic method!Thursday, October 11, 12
    • DISCUSSION THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 & ConclusiON • Social media: what is ‘hip’ today might be forgotten about tomorrow (Flickr versus Pinterest?) • Dataset is from December 2011 until February 2012. Did anything happen the last eight months? 236K 144M 1.5m tags 154,541 PHOTOS VIEWS commentsThursday, October 11, 12
    • DISCUSSION THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 & ConclusiON • We only looked at online data mining • Do you know your heavy users? • A focus on quantitative results • Cooperation with the institutions is necessary to get a complete picture! • Data is fun to work with!Thursday, October 11, 12
    • THEEND THE COMMONS on FLICKR WHAT 51 MILLION MEMBERS DO? AVICOM MONTRÉAL 2012 I’M prepared for a great discussion! THANKYOUThursday, October 11, 12