Saturday, April 18, 2009

Provenance

When you write a Wikipedia article, you are expected to provide sources that prove the assertions made in the article. There are good reasons to do this, for articles it is not only considered "best practice" but even essential. Current practice on many Wikipedias is that articles that do not provide reliable sources may be put forward for deletion.

A picture proverbially paints a thousand words and when a thousand words in Wikipedia exists without any citations the least you can expect is a template indicating that citation is needed.

The illustration can be seen as an advertisement for what to wear to prevent troll troubles. It is however a picture that comes with excellent provenance; the original picture is referred to and urges American ladies to save their country like Joan of Arc did for France.

Both the original picture and the derivation are properly sourced and consequently you have the information you need to appreciate these pictures for what they are. This can be exceedingly important because it is the provenance that allow pictures to express their thousand words.

Falsifications are not new, and they exist for a purpose typically profit and propaganda. When you look up the word provenance, you find two aspects that are of relevance; the origin of something and the history of the ownership of something. Both are relevant to the illustrations that we use. Practically it would be wonderful when we always refer to where the original material can be found. It is then for the museums, archives and libraries to provide the complete provenance of the material we use as illustrations.

In my opinion, we should always indicate where the originals of our illustrations can be found. This has nothing to do with copyright or licensing and everything to do with us providing information that can be trusted.
Thanks,
      GerardM

PS we take orders for troll apparel..
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