Daily Archives: March 14, 2007

Flickr Collections

When you organise your photos online, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to arrange them in nested galleries? I used to do that on the old Mig installation I ran on my home Linux server – photos arranged by year / event. Nice and easy to navigate.

Flickr has let you create Sets for ages, but until now they have had to be a flat structure with no nesting. Yesterday, Flickr launched the much-anticipated “sets within sets” feature… they call it Collections.

Since I started using sets, I’ve actually been naming them with prefixes as a way of separating, for example, travel photos (prefixed “Places”) from event photos (which I’ve been labelling “Events”). So, I hurried across to Flickr to try out the Collections feature. The obvious thing to do would be to fold up my ~30 sets into a couple of collections which grouped the Events and Places, with the rest remaining separate sets at the top level.

This is where I began to hit issues. Although Flickr will let you build Collections in a nested way, there are some really irritating limitations:

  1. A collection can contain sets, or collections, but not both. In my case this isn’t too much of an issue, since I only want to group one level of sets together, but I will have to rethink this if my structure gets more complicated – say I decide to have UK locations and international locations separated under the Places collection I just made, I would have to make them both as collections, move all the sets into them, and then regroup the two collections into another collection. Clunky.
  2. You can now customise your main photos page to alter the way in which the photos and the sets / collections are displayed. You can display the Sets or Collections in the sidebar – but not a mixture of both. This is really nasty, as I only have two collections so far, and I’d like them at the top of the sidebar followed by the remaining ~10 standalone sets

Saying that, I’m still really happy that Flickr has finally introduced the feature… I have some complaints about the way they’ve added this extra level of complication, but it is nice to be able to start getting my photos more organised.

Oh, and keep and eye on Zooomr, which is about to go live with Zooomr v3 – among other new features they are moving into stock photography, which could be a killer feature.