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More ways to browse photos on Flickr

Flickr, Yahoo's popular photo sharing community site, is often lauded for supporting many different ways to browse photos. While, in the web technology community, the most discussed way to browse photos on Flickr is via "tags"—the keywords the photographers use to tag their photos, Flickr also continues to give people new ways to explore the site.

Flickr has just added a new Camera Finder feature that allows visitors to see photos organized by the make of the camera that snapped the picture. Site visitors select which photos they want to see using a conventional hierarchical taxonomy, e.g., they may choose to see all photos taken with any Canon-model camera in Camera Finder / All / Canon, or they may narrow their view to just photos taken with a Canon EOS 20D in Camera Finder / All / Canon / EOS 20D.

Additionally, each view may be filtered using a conventional controlled vocabulary, which is available via a drop down menu, and that has options like: portrait photos, night photos, landscape photos, etc.

One of the things that's neat about this is that the data that drives this system comes, in large part, from the cameras themselves. With each photo, each digital camera records some data about itself and about how the picture was taken (e.g., at night, in landscape or portrait position, etc.), and the Flickr team has mapped this data into the hierarchical structure through which the photos can be browsed.

Altogether it's a nice example of how a little centrally implemented information architecture can turn a big bag of data into an interesting and usable interface.

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