As discussed in the article Flickr, Library of Congress find something in 'Common', in USA Today, the approach has seen over 500 photos have new information added to them, from identifying individuals, locations and providing context for the images.
This approach of tapping into an existing online community of enthusiasts (Flickr is the world's largest community of photographers), providing them with public data and seeing what value the community can add (free of charge) is applicable across many different areas of government.
This isn't a unique instance of this approach. Other, and quite different examples of government-community online collaboration include;
- the SETI@Home program, which uses unused processing power on millions of home users' PCs to analyse astronomical data in the search for intelligent life,
- the Police Wiki Act, which was passed as an Act of Parliament last year as the first piece of New Zealand legislation to be written, analysed, discussed and finalised online involving hundreds (if not thousands) of community contributors, and
- the UK government's mash-up competition, where the UK is looking for community innovation in creating useful online applications involving government data released especially for this purpose.
There's many other forms this type of collaboration could take. All it requires is some goverment data and the will to work with communities.