5 steps to proper image use on blogs - a #scio11 tutorial

Something that David, John and I brought up today in our session about Science-art - and elsewhere here at ScienceOnline - is the need to properly credit images used on blogs. Here are my quick tips on doing it properly, to give image creators the credit they deserve. 

This stuff is my opinion after a number of years as an image-maker online. I don't think there's a gold standard anywhere or a law that the Internetz Police will bust you over. 

  1. Go beyond Google Images or Wikipedia to the original photographer, illustrator or artist.
  2. Check for a Creative Commons Licence*.
  3. Ask. Just ask if permission is unclear. 
  4. Credit the photographer, illustrator or artist by name.
  5. Link back to their site.

Saying "Credit: Google Images" is like saying "Credit: Someone on Earth".

If you search for more than 10 minutes online and cannot find the original creator and are desperate to use that specific image, perhaps put it up and ask your readers for help identifying who created it.  A knowledgeable blog readership on a niche topic will often know. 

Be prepared to take an image down if asked.

*A note about Creative Commons Licences: it means some sort of sharing is allowed, but the most restrictive licence still says a) You must credit the artist b) You must not alter the image in any way and c) You must not make any money from it.  It's one of the reasons an artist may allow free use on a blog, but ask for money if it will be in mainstream media.

These are my opinion on the subject of credit: thoughts? 


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow