First Locomotive in Alaska

The first locomotive in Alaska, purchased by White Pass and Yukon Railroad, Skagway, Alaska

The above photo is from the Flickr Commons and depicts the first locomotive purchased in Alaska for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad. I’ve actually traveled most of its route as an updated version of the train runs as a tourist attraction. I highly recommend it for scenery and atmosphere.

As someone affiliated with the Alaska State Library, one of the first things I do in collections of free materials is look for Alaskan content. I’ve actually known about the Commons for awhile. I unsuccessfully argued for the Library join, but it wasn’t a step they were ready to make. As a result, it looks like many of the Alaska pictures available through the Commons are through the good graces of the University of Washington. It might be time to revisit the issue of Alaskan participation as we (Alaskan institutions generally) prefer to be the custodians of our stories and artifacts.

We actually have an excellent collection of online photographs and more at Alaska’s Digital Archives, but I worry about their visibility. On the other hand, Flickr’s recent changes have annoyed a lot of users. So maybe the Commons isn’t as much the place to be as it once was. What do you think?

via MOOCing Up North

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