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The new Flickr Commons Explorer

One of the things I’ve been working on at the Flickr Foundation is a new “Commons Explorer”, a way to browse the photos in the Flickr Commons.

Flickr Commons is a collection of historical photography from cultural institutions from all around the world, all with no known copyright restrictions. It started with the Library of Congress in 2008, and now includes over 100 institutions from 24 different countries.

One of the cool things about Flickr Commons is the variety of photos, and I enjoy looking “across” the Commons. I used a lot of Commons photos in my Monki Gras talk last month, and I had fun using the new search to find dance-related photos from all the different members.

The Commons Explorer is a new tool that encourages this sort of cross-collection exploration. It tries to treat the Flickr Commons as a single collection of photographs, and to provide interesting views into the data that are more than just traditional search. There are lots of cool photos to find!

You can try the new Commons Explorer at, or you can learn more in our introductory blog post.

The homepage of the Commons Explorer, showing an introductory message and a 2-column grid of recent photos. A list of members in the Flickr Commons, showing cards for each member. Each card has a selected photo from the member, their name, and some basic metadata. Conversations on Flickr Commons photos -- comments people have left. There’s a single conversation on a photo of a woman called “Peggy Barthes”, with two comments shown next to the photo.