In an inspired move by our friends at the Federal Government, in particular the Library of Congress, has created The Commons on Flickr, billing it as "Your opportunity to contribute to describing the world’s public photo collections."
The Library of Congress section of the commons has about 3,100 images in it now and is being used as a pilot program to decide the fate of this initiative. This isn’t the first time they have had digital images available online, in fact they have had they’re own library posted for sometime and it contains hundreds of thousands of images if not millions. From here you can order prints as well.
They have a pretty limited scope of photos available on Flickr right now, but I would expect it to grow. The categories posted now are The 1930s – 1940s in color and News in the 1910s. Some of the photos from around the war era are quite amusing in their very "poster-like" poses and coloring. I can very plainly see where a lot of the images from the various war posters originated from, very Rosie the Riveter.
In general this seems pretty remarkable to me simply because of how slowly the government seems to fully adopt many of the digital trends, or technological advancements. It wasn’t to long ago that the vast majority of the .gov websites were simply lame. I remember back a few years when I was in constant contact with the VA for some "issues", and man did their website blow massive military-esque chunks. It’s a lot better now, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s state-of-the-art. This move by the Library of Congress is, and I support it; it’s a great idea.