Automated Bulk Uploading of Images and Metadata to Flickr
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The Digital Initiatives department at Miami University, like most Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, has a large amount of rich digital image collections, stored primarily in a third-party database. Typically, these databases aren't findable to the average web user. It was our desire to expose these collections to the wider web environment. We immediately thought of Flickr, the most prominent website for image discovery and sharing. Our problem was scale; the default uploading interface was too inefficient to push forward with the project. We developed a set of PHP scripts devised to interact with Flickr's API to allow for quick and efficient uploading of images as well as metadata such as titles, subjects, tags, and hyperlinks back to our collections. Once the scripts were in place the uploading process was completely automatic. Miami University Library’s Digital Initiatives department has uploaded over 5,000 images using this method and the results have been outstanding. New users are consistently attracted to the content and in about a year there have been nearly 200,000 views of our images. This article will discuss Flickr and the importance of contributing library materials to these types of social media sharing communities; explain the technology and programming involved in the project, and discuss our results and the outcomes of project.