Attribute your stuff, man.

The basics of attribution, from the post “Credit is always due.” by Austin Kleon.

Thanks to the aforementioned football rivalry, the archival materials under my charge have been in the local media a lot lately. Of course, in some cases you’ll have to take my word for it. Numerous videos, blog posts, and articles were pushed out using our photographs and films without a single mention of where they came from. And that really gets my goat.

It’s not about compensation or notoriety. As far as I’m concerned, almost all of our collections are CC-BY. Take it, use it. That’s why it’s there. But that “BY” is huge to me because people should be able to trace the source of the item. If you want to find out more about who’s in a photo or what year a film was made, XYZ Media Organization will give you little more than blank stares. But I’ll talk your ear off for an hour if you let me. And even more important, I can tell you where to find more stuff just like it.

If the tables were flipped, XYZ Media would lose it if I cribbed something from them wholesale without giving credit, and rightly so. So why should I expect less from them?

I should say that most of the media that I’ve dealt with over the past months have been great and asked first and attributed properly. But those few examples? They’re going to stick with me a while. And for every BS stereotype about archives and archivists, one is undoubtedly true- we have long memories.

(this is another reason to attribute, by the way- we’re good friends to have on your side.)


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