Tag Archives: source

Encouraging image credit on Twitter

Adding photo credit to Twitter post
“The image or video is uncredited” is not currently an option on Twitter app. It should be.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to nudge a user to credit the person who made a photograph or video? I.e., users could click on Report, then indicate that an image has been posted without credit in a situation where creator might easily have been determined. There would have to be some algorithm, of course, that used reports from multiple reporters to somehow nudge the account holder to either delete the tweet (and repost with credit info) or to change the user’s future behavior. Maybe the offending, reported tweet would start showing up with red text to indicate to the world that they should be ashamed. Or maybe after a certain number of complaints the tweet gets (gasp) auto-deleted. Or (my preference) the account gets hobbled so user can’t post images anymore (but text-only Tweets just fine). There are lots of really fun ways to do this.

Here’s what does not appear to work: choosing to not follow those accounts that are flagrant copyright abusers.

What also doesn’t work is allowing only copyright-holders to file complaints to Twitter HQ. Not all artists have Twitter accounts, plus the forms are hard to find even if they did. Furthermore, most photographers don’t even know their images are on Twitter, uncredited. Encouraging a culture of credit is something that can be easily crowdsourced, and should be.

By the way, credit can be a Twitter handle (best) or just the artist’s name (when a good-faith search reveals they don’t have an account). And the credit can be in the text (best) but you can sometimes (or additionally) add credit by adding the text onto the image before you post (and that doesn’t eat up your 140 characters).

[ FYI, I made this image using a blank iPhone vector image from pixabay. No attribution requested by this company, but I added it anyway. ]

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Graphic for reducing plagiarism in lectures

Plagiarism examplesThere are multiple reasons why students plagiarize more these days, but one cause that is never discussed is that students spend all day watching their teachers do it.  So, if you happen to be in position of minor influence in the education world, here’s a graphic to use in your next lecture, to get lecturers to better model the use of quotation marks and citations to their students. Following the conventions detailed on the slide certainly adds to the visual elements of a slide, which is annoying, but I argue that it’s important to send the message that lecturers value other people’s intellectual work. By the way, the quotation example is from Donald McCabe (PDF), who does great research on plagiarism. I chose the quote so that the slide can do double duty, communicating to teachers that their apathy has consequences. Also by the way, I made this graphic for my “Preventing plagiarism” page. If, by chance, you have no importance in the educational world, please consider sending this to those that do.


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Adding image credits to lecture and research talk slides

I made this page because, if you’re a typical scientist, you don’t think crediting photographers is necessary, just like teenagers don’t worry about sharing music and movie files with each other. But you should provide attribution: it’s just like citing a quote in a journal article.

It’s really not that hard to do. Here’s one way: add a black box with grey text at the bottom of your image.

The above detail might be overkill, of course, but all that information is potentially useful to an audience member who is actually interested in the photograph. At the very least put the photographer’s full name. And, sure, the grey text is a tad hard to read, but that’s sort of the point: audience is supposed to be paying attention to you, not reading all the photo creds.

You can also tweak box color,


and orientation:

Slide09The problem with vertical text, of course, is that it’s annoying to edit. But it’s perfect if you have images with 4 x 3 aspect ratio.

And don’t be lazy about tracking down the photographer information when you find an image that’s perfect for making your talk interesting. Use Jeffrey’s Exif viewer, Tineye Reverse Image Search, and Google Inside Search to track down the source of images you might stumble upon. Note that just because somebody else use the image without credit doesn’t mean you should do the same. If all fails, provide the URL where you found the image … though providing that won’t protect you from being sued if the photographer finds you’ve published your slide deck somewhere.

If you have a room full of impressionable students, please pause once during your lecture (or semester) to comment about your image credits and how it fits with academic honesty policy. Students might have noticed, but it doesn’t hurt to be clear. Tell them you work hard to find this information because, like quotations and charts from others, it’s important to be honest and humble about sources. They will absorb what you did and model that behavior when they give their own talks.

And regarding the strategy of an “end of talk” image credit list: don’t do that. The fleeting moment the audience might be interested in an image’s source is when the audience is looking at the image

Finally … is it OK to share slides online? The answer is almost always, “no”. Even if you had permission from a photographer to use an image in a lecture, he/she probably doesn’t want that image being shared with the world for the rest of time. If you have to post it online, make sure it’s hidden behind Blackboard or Moodle CMS. Or put the file inside a .htaccess folder on your website, to restrict to just your campus.

Useful reads:

  1.  The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons,
  2. Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare,
  3. Washington State University Fair Use Guidelines,
  4. UCLA Drops Copyrighted Videos From Course Web Sites After Legal Threat,
  5. The TEACH Act.
  6. Cite and Attribute Your Sources.

UPDATE 02/22/2016: please also see “Image attributions in presentations“, by Catherine Scott at the Small Pond Science blog.

Posted in Biology, Education, Graphic design, Photography, Plagiarism, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment