Visualizing the (invisible) archive

The Swedish National Heritage Board is an excellent example of an authority with a mixed archive of miscellaneous content. Among their content are old photographs and among the photographs are the works of the Swedish physician (and prominent balneologist) Carl Curman (1833-1913). His photographs found their way into the archives and have spent an uneventful century mainly gathering dust.

Then last year the heritage board joined Flickr Commons and began adding Curman’s images to the pool. The results were spectacular to say the least. Today the heritage K-Blogg reports

I was quite thrilled this morning when I had a glance at the Flickr statistics for views on our account on Flickr Commons. The magical limit of 1 000 000 views since the launching on 2009.03.17, was reached – actually the number was 1 000 100 when I looked, a nice sight.

Digitalization brings with it many interesting problems and, at times, we focus too much on these negative issues. But as these results show, by opening up the archives in this way the almost forgotten works have been revived and made relevant again.

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