And speaking of network level access, the Flickr Commons initiative seems to be getting real traction. The Smithsonian has just joined the Library of Congress, the Brooklyn Museum and The Powerhouse Museum in making a selection of images available on Flickr.
I had not looked closely at the text on the website before, and was interested to see how it describes the goals of the initiative:
The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer. [Flickr: The Commons]
This provides a nice example of the 'concentrating' aspect of Web 2.0. I noted an early report from Seb Chan a while ago where he discussed how the volume and quality of tags on Flickr were both higher than on the home site. It will be interesting following this as it develops and seeing more data of this type.
It seems clear that this type of activity is one important strand in being able to scale description of digitized materials. An approach which relied exclusively on professionally produced metadata would not scale as we look at the volume of materials being created across institutions.