Have you heard of Flickr, the photo sharing site with Creative Commons licensing options and a great API for access to photos and metadata? I ask because our collective attention span is so short that I wonder whether our memory hasn't been similarly impaired. Flickr has weathered harsh criticism from former employees and speculation about the number of days until Yahoo kills it, and has regained for now the fickle favor of the web. A year ago, I wrote about Flickr's extra love for Pleiades machine tags: http://sgillies.net/blog/1103/flickr-support-for-ancient-world-places. I'm going to take the opportunity of Flickr's comeback to write about what's new in tagging photos with Pleiades places.
Flickr reports almost 7000 photos with pleiades:*= tags: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/pleiades:*=/. Of these, over 4800 use pleiades:depicts= to indicate that they depict the site(s) of an ancient place; the ancient place, or what remains of it, is the subject of the photo. Over 1500 photos use pleiades:findspot= to indicate that the subject of the photo was found in the context of the ancient place. The pleiades:origin= tag is another interesting one and Flickr has almost 200 of these.
My favorite is the pleiades:atteststo= tag for photo subjects that bear the name of or otherwise attest to the existence of an ancient place. The queen of these (in my opinion) is Dan Diffendale's photo of an inscribed decree concerning the founding of the colony of Brea.
Making the Pleiades machine tags easy to use is a challenge we haven't yet overcome. It's in the nature of these tags to be specific to a relatively small number of photos. The opaqueness of our numerical identifiers further hinders reuse; when you type "pleiades:" in the tag field on Flickr (or Aperture or whatever) the resulting list of suggestions like:
pleiades:depicts=42 pleiades:depicts=43 pleiades:depicts=44 ...
isn't super helpful to mere mortals (which is why things like rdfs:label exist in more robust semantic web systems, right?). Despite the limitations, I've known that we could do better at showing to users what to do and yesterday I checked off something that has been on the todo list for a while: cut-and-paste machine tags for the Pleiades place pages.
On the right side of pages (like Palmyra's, http://pleiades.stoa.org/places/668331) you'll see section labeled "Photos" that may contain a portrait of the place and links to related Flickr photos. Below this you will now see two suggested tags:
Use this tag in Flickr to mark depictions of this place's site(s): pleiades:depicts=668331 or this one to mark objects found here: pleiades:findspot=668331
If you use these, I'd appreciate a note. The approach is very low tech (select, ctrl-c, ctrl-v) and user tracking in such detail is not in our budget. I'm looking forward to finding a bump in tagged photos soon.