Searching Tags in Tumblr

In reviewing Tumblr once again, I realized how limited their search capabilities are when looking for something specific.  When reviewing the site previously, I explored whatever was presented to me on the home page and was satisfied with that.  For current purposes, I wanted to find examples of information organizations using the site and it was not easy to do.  First, I learned you could only search tags.  Lame! 

I began my searches under a great deal of distress after reading in Write here, right now – how Tumblr changed blogging by Belam and Myddelton (2011) that “metadata the bane of our work lives, has no place here – Tumblr happily lets you ignore tags, URLs and even post titles if you want to.”  After retrieving the information organizations that I found using the site and reviewing a number of irrelevant, retrieved results, I was glad to see the implementation of metadata even if it was simply with the use of tags and titles.  It seems logical that the information organizations I examined provided the most thorough metadata.   Metadata is good!!

My first search attempt was for “public library” in which many interesting sites were retrieved but none that I selected were products of an information organization.  I do not like that you are not able to determine the creators of the results until you click on the images retrieved.  I noticed a lot of the results retrieved with this search were images of a library’s architecture or collection display.  It is nice to see that libraries are being recognized in this way.  I did not find an information organization with this search but I did find a fun site that highlights librarians and their outfits at

I then had two search queries that retrieved zero results “library institution” and “San Jose Public Library.”  So, I searched for an example we had already seen “New York Public Library.”  From what I could tell before getting frustrated, the results did not include the actual New York Public Library Tumblr site.  However I did find the Tumblr site for the National Archives at  How awesome!  They upload multiple images and documents daily with themes including politics, everyday life, the environment, and events and holidays such as posts for the first day of spring.  The images include collection information and links if the images are published online.

After reviewing The National Archives Tumblr site, I got the idea to search for the term “archives” with which I found additional interesting sites including the JFK Library Tumblr site at  and the Oakland Tribune Archives at  The JFK Library site posts images, scanned documents, videos, and quotes frequently.  A link is provided if the images are published online.  Items are being reposted from other Tumblr sites.  Also, current news items and events are posted alongside the historical, JFK related items.

The Oakland Tribune Archives Tumblr site is interesting because its presentation is different than the other sites I have examined.  The archives presents mostly photographic images in a three column arrangement rather than one continuous column like I have seen with other sites.  I very much enjoyed the selection of images posted but It is difficult to determine in what order the images are posted, although this type of information may not be particularly important for other viewers.  Also, only when you click on an image are you presented with the metadata relevant to that image, including image titles.  If a viewer is not curious enough to click on images, they are missing vital contextual information about the images.   

Tumblr, like other Web 2.0 tools discussed, is a tool through which an information organization can share information about themselves and their collections. The sites I reviewed heavily used Tumblr to highlight their collections and were very visual.  Although the following on Tumblr is not as extensive as Facebook, there is a following nonetheless.  Therefore, if there are resources and interest available, Tumblr would be another beneficial tool to aide in connecting with an information organization’s patrons.


2 thoughts on “Searching Tags in Tumblr

    1. tnixey Post author

      Searching through Google is a great idea but, I am glad that I used the opportunity to explore the inefficiencies in Tumblr’s search capabilities.


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