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The ‘A’ Word

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JACKasses :p

JACKasses :p by Ðeni – CC Licensed via Flickr

There are two ‘A’ words in this post. The first is Ass as in Jackass. The second is Attribution as in Always be Attributing your content sources.

A question came up during Friday’s lesson while I was talking about the ‘P’ word: plagiarism. At the time, I was focused on the issue of academic integrity and not presenting the writing of another author as your own. I mentioned that quoted text should be typographically different from the rest of the text of your post and a link should be provided to the original source.  And then a student asked:

Should we do the same thing for images? (example of quoted text – use the quotation mark button in the WordPress blog editor)

I believe that my response was to the effect that dealing with images can be handled differently than text. I also implied that it’s not as serious an issue as plagiarizing text. I think I also mentioned that I would be discussing a preferred way to deal with using images in a future lesson or blog post.

After class, I felt less than satisfied with my response. Had there been a bit more time, I would have described and demonstrated the process I hope to present in this post. The matter was brought to the forefront over the weekend with a couple of student blog posts.

First was Nick’s brilliant Alan Kay with a Slice of Pizza. Nick did a cool job of photoshopping an image of Alan Kay with a slice of pizza in his hand. It turns out that the photographer who took the picture of Kay, also named Alan, found Nick’s post and left a comment that he was the guy who took the picture. Alan, the photographer, suggested that Nick should provide a link back to the image.

Making this story even more relevant and interesting is the fact that Alan, the photographer, is also an instructor for one of the ds106 sessions at UMW. He goes by the name CogDog on twitter and I predict that several of your blogs will be visited by him in the coming weeks.

I’m pleased to report that Nick quickly followed Cogdog’s suggestion and added links back to all of the images he used in his post.

Now we get in to a slightly tricky and slippery matter. Alan makes his images freely available to reuse through something called Creative Commons licensing. He posts his images on Flickr and asks that he be mentioned when his work is used, a link be provided back to the image’s Flickr page and the CC license be cited in the post.

But most of the images you will come across are not offered through Creative Commons. They are someone’s property and technically should not be used without permission. For this reason, I encourage you to use freely available images such as those from Flickr’s CC category or from MorgueFile whenever possible. And always link back to the original image (as I failed to do with my recent Adam Osborne Pokemon Card post).

The image of the Jackass above was found through a Flickr Creative Commons search. As you can see, I listed the name of the photo, the photographer’s Flickr ID and the type of license in the caption below the photo.  At the bottom of this post, I’ll include the same information with appropriate hyperlinks.

I mentioned at the beginning that the other ‘A’ word Ass as in Jackass. That’s because that’s the way I felt when I read Nana’s powerful Photographer goes Rawr post. In it she rightly took me to task for being to vague in my response to the original question. As an experienced photographer, Nana has an experience born and well developed idea on the matter of the way images are used and misused on the net.

I regret that my response to last weeks question gave the impression that I don’t take this matter seriously. I do and I honestly intended to deal with at a later time. That time is now.

I would like everyone to practice posting a Creative Commons image found through the advanced search on Flickr with proper attribution. I will give a quick demo in class on January 23 and expect everyone to make such a post before the next lesson.

I took screen captures as I selected the image for this post. I will try to assemble them together into a meaningful step-by-step tutorial. I have a hunch this activity will appear for the practical portion of the midterm exam. So take a look at the format in which I attribute the image above.

Image: JACKasses :p by ÐeniCC Licensed via Flickr

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