How to Build Keyword-Based Flickr RSS Feeds

After I wrote the article yesterday with more resources and thoughts about information trapping, I got a couple notes from people who wanted to know how to make keyword-based Flickr RSS feeds. You have to build an URL, but it’s pretty easy. Flickr actually offers RSS for several types of searches — a full list is available at http://www.flickr.com/services/feeds/ — but I’ll give you an overview for keyword-based feeds and a couple other options.

Keyword-based Feeds

To build a keyword-based feed, start with this URL:

http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne

Then, add ?tags=keyword to the end to find words in the tags for each picture. You can also use the comma to stack tags. For example, this URL would build an RSS feed of new Flickr photos tagged giraffe and zoo:

http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=giraffe,zoo

(That’s an actual RSS feed URL. Pop it in Google Reader, NewsGator, or whatever your preferred RSS reader is.)

Be careful about adding too many tags, though, as Flickr’s data pool is a lot smaller than, say, Google’s vast repository of Web pages.

Feeds for Flickr Groups

Maybe you don’t want to get as specific as a tag. Maybe you’d rather follow a group. You can search for Flickr Groups at http://www.flickr.com/groups/; once you find one you like (may I recommend CreativeCommons or Flickr Central?) you can get RSS feeds for them by starting with this URL:

http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/groups_pool.gne

and adding ?id=groupname to it, where groupname is, um, the name of the group. That’s where you might run into some trouble, as I couldn’t easily spot the actual group ID. I ended up using a site called http://idgettr.com/. Just enter the URL for the group and it’ll spit back an ID number. So the RSS feed for Creative Commons would be:

http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/groups_pool.gne?id=26241990@N00

You’ll have to experiment some with your search terms when building RSS feeds for Flickr, but I recommend you try some of those general search terms that get you way too many results with a Web search. Flickr is huge but it’s still smaller than Google’s Web page index (I would guess) and my keyword-based Flickr feeds very, very rarely get irrelevant results. Try it!

About Tara Calishain

Covering the world of search engines, databases, and other online information collections since 1996.

Posted on June 2, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. GREAT trick/tip. Here is my URL: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=quilt,modern

    It gives me a lovely stream of quilts for my viewing pleasure when I need a break from the day to day librarian stuff.

  2. I really appreciated the topic on how to create a flickr RSS photo feed. It was really usefull. I instantly created an RSS feed for my tags.

    Great!

    Daniel.

  3. Thanks a bunch!

  4. Awesome! I’ve been all over Google trying to find this exact information!

    Thanks!

  5. The pathetic thing about flickr feeds is they offer no options for size of images; all you get are 320px wide thumbnails, although their calls to generate badges all you to specify at least up to 50opx wide ones. I’ve been using a Yahoo Pipe which rewrites the feeds to use a specified image size

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