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This repository contains scripts for automatically archiving Flickr URLs.

  • dlflickr.rb: takes a list of newline-separated Flickr URLs as input and calls wget to download them to the current working directory, optionally archiving Flickr metadata
  • google_spreadsheet_to_csv.rb: outputs Flickr URL's in a Google Sheet for input to dlflickr.rb, and updates a column in the Google Sheet with the image license
  • calls google_spreadsheet_to_csv.rb and dlflickr.rb then rsyncs the images to a remote server

You can use the components piecemeal, or use on an automated basis if it meets your needs. Run bundle install to install gems first.


The core dlflickr.rb script tries to be as straightforward as possible. For each line of input, it tries to download the maximum resolution Flickr image at that URL using wget. If you want to get fancy, it also supports a -a flag for archiving Flickr metadata for each URL to a separate XML file like this. This requires a Flickr API key, which you can pass in with the -f flag or the .secrets.yml config file described below.

dlflickr.rb currently does not fetch or overwrite existing files on subsequent invocations. Files are saved to username-or-nsid_photo-id.ext in the current working directory.


google_spreadsheet_to_csv.rb expects configuration variables to be stored in a file named .secrets.yml:

spreadsheet_key: googlespreadhseetkeystring
spreadsheet_worksheet: 0
spreadsheet_flickr_column: 2
spreadsheet_license_column: 6
flickr_key: flickrapikey
flickr_secret: flickrapikeysecret

You'll also need to follow the google-drive-ruby gem instructions for generating a config.json file with OAuth credentials. expects your rsync destination in a file named .rsync-dest:

Related Tools

Based on the Archive Team Wiki Flickr page, here are some other Flickr backup tools that didn't quite meet my needs (still, they might meet yours):

  • photobackup - designed to back up all photos and metadata for a single Flickr user
  • flickrbackup - backs up photos and metadata for a single Flickr user, but only supports writing Flickr metadata back into the original image EXIF
  • parallel-flickr - backs up photos and metadata for a single Flickr user, and generates a database-backed website for re-hosting them
  • FlickrFckr - brutally simple photo & metadata download, but busted for me
  • youtube-dl - only seems to support downloading Flickr videos (which this script currently doesn't handle)


Flickr image/metadata download & archiving scripts




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