Title:Rethinking Evaluation Metrics in Light of Flickr Commons
Authors:Dianne Dietrich, Joseph Dalton, Effie Kapsalis, Sebastian Chan, Paula Bray, Helena Zinkham, Michelle Springer
Publication:MW2011: Museums and the Web 2011

Flickr Commons launched in 2008 as a platform for enhancing the discoverability of cultural heritage collections and for allowing users to tag, annotate, and repurpose these materials. The Commons now boasts 46 members and tens of thousands of public domain images. The impact of the project has been monumental. Many of the institutions involved can boast hit counts on their Flickr images that far exceed other digital collections. While many of the numbers are certainly impressive, it can be argued that they are one of the least compelling statistics. What, then, are the most meaningful statistics for a project that puts library collections in a highly visible space outside the library's traditional confines? Some of our standard and more established metrics, such as hit counts, only illuminate a small part of the story - the bigger picture includes the myriad ways users have interacted with our images, by adding notes and comments, by including them in their own curated galleries, by tweeting them, and referencing them on their blogs. There are limitless possibilities for users to interact with digital materials and we should be developing metrics that reflect this landscape. This panel will examine multiple approaches to assessing the impact of a digital library collection that exists beyond an institution's borders.


Dianne Dietrich, Physics & Astronomy Librarian, Physical Sciences Library, Cornell University Library

Joe Dalton, Applications Developer, Office of Strategic Planning, The New York Public Library

Helena Zinkham, Head, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Effie Kapsalis, Head of Web & New Media Smithsonian Photography Initiative/Smithsonian Institution

Paula Bray, Manager, Visual & Digitisation Services, Powerhouse Museum