Do You Love To Keyword?

Posted on 7/28/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

In the digital world everyone loves to work for free. Particularly when it is an opportunity to help someone else earn money as a result of their efforts. With that in mind Magnum Photos is looking for volunteers to help them tag their online archive. If you’re interested sign up here.
Magnum has loaded over 500,000 image files into its online database. But, 200,000 of them have little or no information attached, making them hard to find and difficult to utilize.

The answer for Magnum is crowdsourcing. They believe there will be lots of people who will want to help “some of the most amazing photographers in the world” in exchange for that “warm, fuzzy feeling of helping out an excellent organization — plus the ability to see these photos before just about anyone else.” The promotional material also says the volunteers will be able to “share (the images they work on) over social networks.”

The Magnum Tagger project is being launched in conjunction with Tagasauris, and will start with a beta of just 50 volunteers, who are notified over Facebook or Twitter when there are new images to review. The volunteers will be able to annotate and tag the photos, with tags being linked to broader networks of information on the person, place or topic.

To combat the inherent problem of quality and crowdsourcing, all images will go through multiple volunteers before the annotations are accepted.

If this works I’m sure there will be a lot of other photography organization anxious to use the Tagasauris keywording tool. Tagasuris' clients and partners already include the Museum of the City of New York and Amazon Webservices.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Bill Bachmann Posted Jul 28, 2011
    Magnum makes money, but wants others to work for free??! Maybe Ford will then get people to come in to help build cars saying they will be the first people to see a car before it goes out on the road.

    Great concept --- for Magnum & Ford!

  • Owen Franken Posted Jul 28, 2011
    slavery by any other name....

  • Dean Siracusa Posted Jul 28, 2011
    Do not confuse slavery with charity. Slavery is forcing those to work without choice or adequate compensation.

    But, if someone wants to volunteer to add keywords to images, it's entirely up to them.

    Mind you, I think this is still a bad idea for a number of reasons including quality control.

    The bigger issue is the continued belief that work has no value. And, it's not just companies like this who believe it. It's also individuals. From people willing to do these things for free to companies who exploit it. Adriana Huffington built and recently sold a company that was based entirely on free labor.

    Until people realize that their work has value, this will continue.

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