Flickr has a great ability to create Sets of images, and then group the sets as Collections.
I’ve talked about Flickr sets before, in terms of how to best get your images noticed.
The Collections are live. That is, if you add more images to the member groups, then the Collections are updated accordingly.
Unfortunately, Sets themselves are static. They contain whatever images you add to them, but there’s no capability within flickr to automatically add images on the basis of any sort of rules.
Ideally, sets would work the way that smart playlists do in iTunes. These playlists are essentially sets of rules, and can be set to update themselves when new tracks are added to iTunes. Until a similar capability is added to Flickr, some clever folks have found ways to achieve similar ends. We plan to take advantage.
All of this requires the use of tags, which are keywords that you can add to your images in Flickr to make them easy to find later. I’ve talked about this before as well.
The idea here is to set up some rules in, and then have those rules update your flickr sets. It’s pretty easy. Just follow along.
First off, you need to have a Flickr account, and you need to let SmartSetr have access to it, just the way any Flickr add-on works.
After that, click on the Click Here link, just as you might expect.
Create a new SmartSet. First you need to select a type. We’re going to use tags, but some of the other options are interesting, especially the last one, which lets things get quite complex by adding multiple sets of rules.
Fill in the boxes”¦
The SmartSet title is what finishes up being the title of the set in flickr, and description is added to Flickr as well.
You can choose to use public images, as we have here, or those which you only allow certain groups of people to see.
Sorting the images in the set isn’t exactly intuitive, but the Interestingness Descending option, despite the long-windedness, is usually the best choice. Your most popular images will be shown first.
In the real world, it’s best to stick with the default 500 images rather than the more manageable 10 I’ve chosen here.
Now for the crux of the matter. Add the tags you wish to filter by, with commas between multiple selections. For instance, if you only want pictures of rusty walls in blue, then try rust, wall, blue, using the exact same words you used for tagging the images in the first place. I’m just looking for anything that’s been tagged yellow.
You can say that the resulting set needs to match all of the tags, or any of them, as we have here.
Hit Preview First 50.
SmartSetr will interrogate Flickr, and come back with an example of the set contents.
If you’ve made the right choices, go ahead and hit the Save button. If not, backtrack a little and make some changes.
You’ll finish up on a confirmation screen with links to your set in Flickr, and an Edit link to make further changes to the rules.
On that same screen you’ll find a Refresh All SmartSets option, and that’s the one downside to SmartSets.
They don’t update unless you ask them to. You need to come back to the SmartSetr site, and request it to refresh all your sets any time you want to include new images.
Flickr Set Manager
The second option is very similar to SmartSetr. Let’s run through the same example to see what’s different.
Click on the Manage My Sets link from the main page of Flicker Set Manager, and then click Create New Managed Set.
The interface is a little unusual. Each section is opened by clicking on the title of it. Start with the Title and Description heading first, and fill in the name and description for the set.
Click the Set Type heading, and choose Most Interesting for the sort order, 20 for the number of images, and then we have the major difference between this product and SmartSetr. Flickr Set Manager will automatically update the sets on a daily basis.
Click Text Filtersand add yellow as the only filter.
We’re not going to use the Date or Location filters, but feel free to take a look.
Hit the Preview button to see what the result looks like.
Those are the same images with got with SmartSetr, so click the Back button, and then click on Save.
My new set – along with a couple I’d already created – are listed, and you have the option to Edit Set, Delete Set, or Create New Managed Set. Enjoy.
I use sets a lot in Flickr, and plan to add new ones using one of these webapps. How do you manage your sets? What functionality do you think is missing? What other tools do you use to help? Tell me in the comments.