Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#GLAM - About recognition

 Left Hand Bear, Oglala chief
This years #Commons picture of the year contest was different from last years. The many old images that were so lovingly restored and featured the Commons main page were not there any more.

A thread on the mailing list reminded me about all the hard work that gives images of the past a new lease of life. The image of Left Hand Bear, the Oglala chief is used a lot. As you can see below it is even used to make ties, mugs and buttons.

The image of Left Hand Bear has been lovingly restored by Adam Cuerden. The original of this image is at the Library of Congress and I owe a debt of gratitude to both Adam and the LoC.

Adam restored an image preserved at the Library of Congress. Knowing this, I am sure that this is indeed an image of Left Hand Bear. The image is obviously in the public domain and as such I am not required to acknowledge either the LoC or Adam. I may put the image on mugs, ties and buttons and sell them.

For both Commons and Wikipedia, acknowledging the LoC and Adam bring important benefits. Acknowledging the LoC provides provenance of the image, this is the equivalent of providing a source to a fact. Acknowledging Adam links the much improved image to the original. It recognises Adam for his work.

Acknowledging the LoC and Adam IS a best practice. It is a best practice promoted by organisations like Europeana. It is a best practice that is not a requirement, it is however something that we should aspire to.

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