As well as plain text tags, Flickr uses "machine" tags, which have three parts:

  • namespace:predicate=value

for example:
  • architecture:style=gothic
  • date:year=2013
  • taxonomy:genus=Parus

See for more.

How to

When entering machine tags, wrap them in "quote marks", to escape spaces or punctuation. Check they save correctly, just in case!

Tags in use

Replace the text in [square brackets] with the applicable value and remove the brackets.

  • architecture:style=[style]
  • artist:viaf=[The Virtual International Authority File unique number for the artist]
  • artist:name=[Givenname Middlename Familyname]
  • date:day=[number]
  • date:month=[month name]
  • date:year=[number]
    • use these three for pictures of dated events (eg "The Charge of the Light Brigade": date:day=25; date:month=October; date:year=1854); not date of publication
  • engraver:name=[Givenname Middlename Familyname]
    • see notes with artist:name
    • sometimes the engraving firm is credited rather than an individual engraver.
  • geo:lat=[latitude]
    • (use as a pair; see next item)
  • geo:lon=[longitude]
    • if using these, also use the plain text tag"geotagged"
  • map:orientation=[value]
    • the map, plan or diagram is orientated with [North|South|East|West] at the TOP
  • photographer:name=[Givenname Middlename Familyname]
    • sometimes a photography studio rather than an individual photographer is credited.
  • taxonomy:[rank]=[value]
  • text:lang=[xx]
    • use ISO two letter codes, e.g. en=English, fr=French, de=German, etc.
  • text:type=caption (image has a caption)
    • A transcription of the caption would be helpful, if short:
      • text:caption=[transcribe]
  • text:type=compass
    • The image as a label or labels indicating orientation (North, South, East, West, etc.)
    • A transcription of the text would probably not be helpful
    • See also map:orientation=
  • text:type=inclusion (image includes text e.g. pic of a gravestone; advert)
    • A transcription of the text, if short, would be helpful:
      • text:inclusion=[transcribe]
  • text:type=label
    • The image has labelled components
    • A transcription of the text would probably not be helpful
  • text:type=signature
    • The image is of, or includes, a signature or autograph
    • A transcription of the text may or may not be helpful
  • Wikidata:item=[Qnnnn]
  • Wikipedia:en=[article title]
    • replace "en" (for English) with other language codes



Tools that help with adding machine tags include:

Proposed Tags

Machine Tags that might be useful:

  • Computer vision / image analysis related:
    • cv:face=[bounding box top left x in % of image width],[bounding box top left y in % of image width],[bounding box width % of image width],[bounding box height in % of image height];[pitch in deg],[yaw in deg],[roll in deg];[confidence]
      Example: cv:face=0.33462,0.8615,0.4277,0.337;0.98;-0.62,32.5,9.2;0.96
      This will also work if there are multiple faces in one image since all the tags will have a unique signature

Archived Discussions on this page

Machine tags not showing?

Jheald_public Jan 24, 2014
I went to

and tried to add the machine tags


"artist:name=David Octavius Hill"

"engraver:name=William Richardson"

but they're not showing up.

If I try again, it now says "Invalid tag".

I notice that none of the machine tag examples linked to on this page appear to be showing up either.

Is there something one has to do, to allow machine tags to become visible and editable?
external image user_none_lg.jpg Jheald_public Jan 24, 2014
Just to add, the tags are in fact (presumably) there, because if I ask for*=*=

then the image comes up.

But I don't know how to see what's <i>in</i> the tag, to check I got it right. (Or even, because I might want to know who the artist or engraver in fact were).
external image user_none_lg.jpg Jheald_public Jan 24, 2014
Okay, so I can see the machine tags if I hit the "opt out" at the bottom left, and look at the page in Flickr's old interface. So it would seem to be another oddity of their new interface beta.
external image user_none_lg.jpg Jheald_public Jan 24, 2014
Or as one person in the public comments forum for the interface beta has posted:

::Bring back machine tags. Why u no like machine tags anymore? :(
external image Quasimondo-lg.jpg Quasimondo Jan 25, 2014
Yes - the new flickr interface is a desaster - I had to go back to the old one, too
external image user_none_lg.jpg
external image Quasimondo-lg.jpg

Comment: Just FYI - I noticed that none of the...

Quasimondo Jan 6, 2014
external image Quasimondo-lg.jpg Quasimondo Jan 24, 2014
The reason the are not interpreted as machine tags is that they are missing the namespace prefix. So the correct way would be something like "bl:date=1867"