Week 3: Web resources

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Required reading

JISC Digital Media [1]for advice on how to create, use and manage digital media.

The Handbook on the Preservation of Web Resources [2]: Commissioned by the JISC from UKOLN and ULCC's Digital Archives is full of useful information, including strategies which help you decide what to keep, how to keep it and how to ensure ongoing access to it for future generations.

UKOLN Cultural Heritage Web Site [3]: for guidance on metadata and digital preservation. See their guidance papers.

Creative Commons [4]: Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.

The American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP) for "Best Practices for Locating Copyright Owners of Photographic and Visual Art" [5]


In the previous session you learned about how to define your target audience and how to use simple paper based sketches of ideas to refine that understanding and develop further ideas. In this session we turn our attention to the assets that are used to build a Web site and explore three key questions:

  • How can resources be digitised, and what is the best way to do it?
  • What does delivering digital resources entail?
  • How can we maximise the chances that the resources we have created will be found and used?

There are quite a few different types of digital resource that we might consider: video, audio, animation, virtual reality, text, etc. Since this course is about photography, the focus of the module will be on photographic images and associated text.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session you will be able to:

List the different categories of image formats available and explain their relative properties.

Use advanced features of Google to look for resources.

Describe the primary ways in which people find information and the corresponding ways in which information can be organised and presented.

Explain the difference between copyright and IPR and define "fair use".

Know how to research copyright ownership and select appropriate copyright statements for your own work.

Explain the purpose and value of metadata and list some of the main metadata schema relevant to this field.

Activity: Digitising resources

Pair up with someone then using your wiki pages to document your activity:

Identify a collection or a theme around which a collection can be created.

Select items from the collection to be digitised (state your selection criteria clearly and show how theyhave been applied).

Create digital images of the selected items, using a scanner for half of them and a digital camera for the other half.

Save your images to your wiki pages and label them to show the file format, resolution and size.

Refections on this activity

How appropriate is your choice of file format, resolution and size? What do you need to take into account when making these decisions?

What does "size" mean in relation to a digital image?

Activity: Finding digital resources

Pair up with someone different then using your wiki pages to document your activity:

Go to the UK Google homepage and enter a search for Paul Hill. How many pages were returned in total? Take a quick look at the first few websites that are returned.

Compile two lists:

1) The positive things about using Google to find information about Paul Hill.

2) Any negative aspects of searching for useful information in this way.

How effective do you think Google is for finding information? What could you do to improve it?

Using Google more effectively

There are some tricks you can use to narrow down searches using Google:

1) Add more words to your search.

2) Put double quotes ("") around any "exact phrases" that you would like Google to search for.

3) Put a minus sign directly in front of any words that you would like Google to leave out of the search.

4) Restrict it to "UK only"

Imagine you are particlarly interested in Paul Hill's photographs as opposed to Paul Hill the guitar player. Try using the tricks above (either on their own or in combination) to improve your search. Keep a log of your attempts in your "web search" notes, noting how many results Google returns each time.

Reflections on this activity

Which method is the most effective?


Not searching but browsing

There are two main ways of looking for things on the web. One involves putting keywords into boxes (searching), the other involves clicking on links and moving from page to page (browsing). Which do you prefer?

To find out: take a look at the image on this page from the BBC Lifestyle website is about modernist interior design (of the "instant makeover" variety...). In another browser window, visit www.bbc.co.uk and try and find this page.


How did you go about finding it? Did you click on links or use the search box? Or maybe a combination of both? Whichever tactic you tried to find the page with, go back to the BBC website [6] and try it another way. Make some notes about the advantages and disadvantages of searching and browsing as you go along.

Reflections on this activity

What are the main ways in which people discover (ie find) information?

What implications does this have for the way in which information should be presented?

Activity: Copyright and IPR

Is it legal to copy resources from the Internet or elesewhere and use them in your own work?

Read the New York Times article [7] about street artist Shepard Fairey's lawsuit against the Associated Press, asking a federal judge to declare that he is protected from copyright infringement claims in his use of an AP news photograph as the basis for a campaign poster image of President Obama. The photograph was taken by freelance photographer Mannie Garcia. According to the suit, A.P. officials demanded payment for the use of the photo and a portion of the money Fairey makes from it. Mr Fairey's lawyers, including Anthony T. Falzone, the executive director of the Fair Use Project [8] and a law lecturer at Stanford University, contend that Fairey used the photograph only as a reference, transforming it from the shot taken by Mannie Garcia. Just to complicate matters, Mr Garcia claims that he owns the original copyright.

Do you think Fairey's suit should be upheld? Why?

Now watch the video on "Fair Use" [9] and answer these questions:

What is "fair use" and is Shepard Fairey's use of the A.P./Garcia photograph fair use?

What is the difference between copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) and what rights does Mannie Garcia Have as the original photographer?

One way around copyright issues is to link to someone else's material from your own site rather than downloading it and actually putting it into your own site. This practice is known as "deep linking". Investigate deep linking via the Internet. (Don't rely on just Wikipedia alone). Is deep linking legal? What are the arguments for and against deep linking?

It is customary and good practice to inform site owners if you wish to link to their site from your own. Failure to inform them is not an infringement of copyright, as you are not downloading or storing their information. However you would infringe copyright if you mirrored their site on your server without their permission.

Reflections on this activity

List the main caveats surrounding the use of other people's material in your own Web site.

Some useful further reading can be found at:

The Max Plank Institute offers advice on copyright issues.

The museums copyright blog [10] is for questions and answers about museum related copyright issues.

The digital copyright discussion list [11] is another useful place to raise copyright issues. although it is US based so the views expressed there understandably reflect the US legal position.

Although developed for teachers and students who want to reuse material created by others, the JISC Web2rights diagnostic tool offers guidance on copyright isues. See the explanatory video [12].

The UK Intellectual Property Office offers diagnostic exercises to assess your copyright position http://www.ipo.gov.uk/iphealthcheck [13]

Activity: Finding copyright owners

Suppose you wanted to use the picture at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for the cover of an exhibition catalogue. Can you find out who owns the copyright?

What if you cant find a copyright owner? Is there such a thng as a best practice copyright disclaimer?

Take a look at the Library of Congress [14] to see how they and Flickr manage this issue.

Activity: Delivering digital resources

Pair up with someone different then using your wiki pages to document your activity:

Think about who is likely to want to access your collection of images and why. Then categorise your images into groups and sub groups and justify your groupings in terms of your users needs. Add suitable metadata to your images and explain which schema you have chosen and why. (for examples of metadata take a look at The Transport Archive [15] developed here at DMU). Give each image a supplementary description that could help users to find what they are looking for. Create a "controlled vocabulary" or thesaurus of key terms that could be used to search your collection.

Reflections on this activity

What is the difference between a description and metadata?

What advantage does a thesuaurus add?

Why do you need to categorise information if you have a good search engine?

Activity: Protecting resources

The UK copyright service provides a useful step-by-step guide [16] to creating a copyright statement. If your resource incorporates a database you might want to include in the copyright statement that you hold a database rights ownership in the contents of the database. Some examples of such statements can be found at:




Alternatively you may be happy to let others use your work. Creative Commons [20] provides free tools for showing the freedoms attached to published creativework. You can use Creative Commons to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some rights Reserved".

What copyright or licence statement would you recommend for Photographs Exhibited in Britain 1839-1865 [21] and why?

Reflections on this activity

Do you think material should be automatically copyright or automatically copyright free? Why?

Copyright free sources

There are a growing number of high quality, copyright free, image sources in addition to general public site like Flickr. Some are listed below. If you know of others please add them to this page.

The Victoria & Albert Museum [22] offers free use of its images for personal and educational uses.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in conjunction with ArtSTOR offers publication-quality images free for use by the scholalrly community through the Images for Academic Publishing initiative [23].

Wikimedia Commons [24] is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to all.

Seminar preparation

Prepare a brief presentation (maximum 5 wiki pages or Powerpoint slides, not counting references) on what you have done and what you have learned from this session.

Follow this link to the Photography Resources in a Digital Age Contents page to return to the module contents.

Back to the MA: Photographic History Main Page to return to the Course contents.