Creating a free, searchable photo archive in Flickr

Recently I began the task of scanning in all of my family’s old photographs. Digitizing decades worth of photographs is a daunting task for anyone, but then what does one do with all of these digital images once they have been ingested? Do you scan them in only to have them sit in a folder on a hard drive, just as inaccessible as when they were in a box in the closet?

For my purposes, I decided to used Flickr to create and manage my family’s photo archive. Now, as you know, one downside of Flickr is that users are only allowed to display the 200 most recent images/videos if they have a free account (which I do).

However, I was able to get around this, and actually make my archive much, much more functional, by creating a Flickr group as well. As you can see, the group currently has 400+ images in its pool, well over the 200 image limit of a free account.

Another major plus to using a Flickr group for your photo archive is the About/Group Description area. This area lets you write a description of your group with the option to include some html. It is the html that makes this so useful, as I can include links to tags for dates, locations, people, etc. Sure you could just search for tags with the search bar at the top, but that assumes you know which tags are in use. It also assumes that you know how to use the search bar (and will search for photos/tags within the group and not, say, in all of Flickr or in your own photostream) which is not a given when you are trying to share the archive with some less computer savvy relatives.

Lastly, you can’t tell, but I did not change the names of my images. They have been set to be numbered sequentially as they are scanned in. I then write the range of numbers on the envelop of the physical once they photos have been scanned and placed back in the envelop for storage. That way, if ever someone wants a print of a particular image, or for some reason needs a high-resolution scan, I can simply view the image number and find the proper envelop (they are being stored sequentially as I finish each one) to access the correct photograph.

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