Monday, April 07, 2008

OER week 6a - Sharing and Using Images

Why 6a? Well, when this posting
was almost complete the
week 6 instructions suddenly
expanded. 6b follows shortly.

A Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus).
Originally uploaded to
Wikimedia Commons by Thermos.

Sin título
Originally uploaded by mekatharra.

The two pictures of Griffon Vultures above this text are both licensed as Creative Commons. They can be used freely for non-commercial purposes as long as the photographers are credited. The picture on the left was found on Wikimedia Commons, the one on the right on Flickr. Both sites have a large number of high quality images available to use.

As a comparison I can say that when I searched for "Griffon Vulture" I found 34 images on the Commons and 97 CC images on Flickr. (In total there were 997 images in Flickr of which about 850 actually were Griffon Vultures.) When I decided to load these chosen pictures onto my blog, complete with links to the originals and attribution, it took me about 1 minute to do this from Flickr and about an hour to do the same from the Commons. Most of the hour was spent wrestling with HTML code within my blog and with more expertise I could probably have reduced that time considerably but it is clear to me that Flickr wins on usability.

However, the only item I got from Flickr was the image, whereas searching within the Wikimedia community I found the image, an article about
Griffon Vultures, an extra link to information about vultures and even a link to some lovely videos of these birds of prey (yet another link!). Another consideration is that Flickr is a commercial site and the Commons is non-commercial although I'm not sure if this makes a practical difference or if it gives one site or the other an advantage.

I haven't yet found a photo-school on Flickr but there were some excellent guidelines to creating quality images on the Commons. and more useful information inside Wikipedia.

The two sites seem to complement each other. For downloading to a blog I think I would always look first on Flickr due to the ease of use, but for other purposes the two sites are more evenly matched. Basically I think it is wonderful that there are so many quality images available and so many talented people who use CC licenses.

A few numbers - Flickr has passed 2,3 billion images whereas
Wikimedia Commons has over 2 million images
If no suitable cc can be found use Flickr to find a suitable but copyrighted image and then ask the photographer for permission to use it. I have done this three times and got permission twice. (The third person never replied.)

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