Best Practices for the SCRC's use of Flickr

Images (& short videos) to upload

1. SCRC exhibits
2. Digital companions created for specific exhibits, events, or other projects
3. SCRC staff at work (and/or play at work)
4. SCRC artifacts including photos taken as all are being rehoused and photos taken as accessioned or "discovered"
5. Funny or amusing images from the SCRC, Swem & campus
6. Digital images donated to the SCRC for which the creator has granted the SCRC rights
7. SCRC events
8. Swem Library events
9. University events
10. Campus scenes including buildings
11. Other as appropriate


1. Artifacts
2. Exhibits
3. Miscellaneous
4. William and Mary Events


These are assigned to one or more Collections.
1. Artifacts & Ephemera
2. People
3. Found (for unexpected, odd, or otherwise unusual images)
4. More Exhibits & Events
5. Various specific exhibits
6. Various specific events
All images uploaded to Flickr should be added to at least one Set. A new set should be created for each exhibit or event, except annual events including Charter Day, Commencement, Convocation, Homecoming, etc. where we expect that additional photos/videos would be added in ensuing years.


Some groups limit the number of images allowed to be uploaded per day, while some groups require the use of a specific tag, or other requirements. Consult the Group's page when joining a new group for such guidelines and be sure to comply!

There are a few Groups SwemSCRC frequently sends images to including:
1. Swem Library
2. William and Mary
3. Archives on Flickr (use the tag "archivesonflickr")

Nearly all images uploaded could be sent to these Groups, so the staff member uploading images should exercise judgment and good Flickr etiquette in not sending all images from an event, exhibit, etc. to each of the groups (even though we may think all of our images are really special, there are lots of special images out there). Be selective! Choose a small number of especially interesting or eye-catching images to upload to the appropriate groups. For instance, when uploading images of artifacts and ephemera, only send those specifically depicting or relating to William and Mary to the William and Mary group. When uploading images of exhibits, only send one image of the exhibit (at the most!) to each group.

The second tier of Groups relevant images should be sent to as appropriate:
1. Funny Photos From the Archives
2. Hampton Roads & Tidewater Virginia
3. Virginia Flickrazzi
4. Colonial Williamsburg (any image of the Historic Campus & Sunken Garden Campus)

Groups joined in an effort to gain a wider audience for specific topical photographs include:
1. Brick Streets
2. 365 Library Days Project (tag 365libs)
3. flat stanley
4. Flags, Flags, Flags
5. hydra-arts
6. U.S. President Statues
7. World War I

Staff members should join other special interest groups as suited to specific groups of images. For instance, if images of pottery from the collection are uploaded, find groups related to the topic and add them to the Group. Obviously, be conscious of not joining any groups which might be offensive, unprofessional, or in some other way inappropriate and not one the SCRC would find an association with positive. For instance, if in the future, images of material from the Racial and Ethnic Ephemera Collection are added, SwemSCRC could conceivably receive an invitation to "add this image to our group" and we would simply want to take a bit of extra time to check out the group before clicking the button to the accept the invitation.


All images should have the following tags:
  • SCRC
  • Swem
  • Library

The following tags are frequently used as appropriate (note also tags above required to include images in certain Groups):
  • collegeofwilliamandmary
  • W&M
  • Manuscripts
  • archives
  • "University Archives"
  • exhibit
  • artifact
  • tshirt
  • scrapbook
  • diary
  • Williamsburg
  • Virginia

The list of tags that have been used to date is long and the list of tags that could be used is nearly infinite. The important thing to do is to balance creating an access point for viewers and users with staff time. If you are uploading a couple dozen images of various artifacts, do not spend time giving each artifact a unique set of tags. Instead simply include the universal tags. If you are uploading a batch of images from an exhibit or exhibit opening, it would be appropriate to include a few subject specific tags.


The title assigned by Flickr to images is the image name. In the case of images of artifacts, the artifact students are renaming the files with the artifact accession number. Do not change this title in Flickr (at this time, but perhaps someday in the future a student might undertake such a project). When uploading smaller batches of images it is appropriate to give each a descriptive title such as the name of the exhibit, identifying the artifact, or identifying the event. When giving images individual titles, be sure to begin the title with the most descriptive portion of the title. This is especially helpful when an image has a longer title as updates sent to contacts, etc. have a character limit and only the first portion of the title may be included. For example, title an image "The Gentlemen of the College Exhibit - Left-hand side of Case 1" instead of "Left-hand side of Case 1 of The Gentlemen of the College Exhibit".


It is best to provide a brief description when time allows. To save time, consider uploading images in batches and assigning the same general description to each image whenever possible. If the image is of an item from a collection, provide a link to the collection's finding aid in Archon whenever possible. If the image is of a current exhibit, provide a link to the Swem Exhibits webpage (not the Current Exhibits page as eventually the current exhibit is moved to Past Exhibits). If there is other related information on another SCRC or Swem web or wiki page, provide a link. In the case of material from the SCRC's collections indicate so.

All images should include the following in the description field:

  • From the Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary. See for further information and assistance.

Other example text:

Ideally, a Creative Commons license will be applied to each image. Exceptions are of course sometimes necessary in cases of a donor's wishes or when the SCRC needs to exercise a higher level of control over its images. Using the CC license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs is preferred.

Add to Map

Flickr allows users to add their images to a map indicating where they were taken. As most images were taken in Swem Library, adding them to the map is fairly simply accomplished in a large batch. Smaller groups of images from other campus locations may also be added to the map.


Adding contacts may be done as discovered or after they add SwemSCRC as a contact. Any William and Mary office or department or affiliated group (Alumni Association, etc.) should be added as a contact and may be marked "Family" in contacts. Libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage organizations should be added as contacts as well. We will not add members of the public who are unknown to us as contacts. If someone adds SwemSCRC as a contact, we may certainly reciprocate.

Active Flickr User

Once every 2-4 weeks spend a bit of time on Flickr commenting on, tagging, favoriting, or just viewing the images of others-usually other William and Mary-related offices, alumni, or students or archives, museums, etc. An easy way to find images to comment on is to visit the pages for the Groups SwemSCRC is already a member of. Another way is to search Flickr with relevant keywords. This is done to both be an involved Flickr citizen, but also to seek out ideas for different content ideas and ways of doing things from other archives and to find digital content that the SCRC may wish to approach creators about adding to the collection.

Miscellaneous Tips and Hints
When uploading images, you may initially restrict access so that they are not viewable by the public until you have had a chance to edit the metadata.

Rotate images as needed using the arrow above the image (seen when you are signed in).

Add a note to an image when it might be helpful to transcribe brief text or highlight an especially interesting detail in an image.