Bury My Travelin’ Bone
The traveller is always leaving town
He never has the time to turn around
And if the road he’s taken isn’t leading anywhere
He seems to be completely unaware
The traveller is always leaving home
The only kind of life he’s ever known
When every moment seems to be
A race against the time
There’s always one more mountain left to climb
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Image hunting techniques for bloggers
See that little doodad widget over there? No, not there. In the column on the side of this blog where stuff is. Yeah, there. The one that says, “Blog with Integrity.”
What does that mean?
Yes, even a Guru of Negativity can still maintain his integrity.
One of the ways I try to blog with integrity is by respecting intellectual property rights. I try to write my own stuff, and when I use a source, like Wikipedia, I give credit where credit is due. I do this with links and sourcing excerpts.
When it comes to images I try to do the same thing. Stealing isn’t nice so I try not to do it.
Here are some fun techniques I use for finding images for use in blog posts and respecting the rights of others.
Do It Yourself (DIY)
When possible, create your own stuff. Get off your ass and take your own photos. Of course that isn’t always workable or possible. So keep reading.
Search government sites
In most cases, images created by the government are open season and free of copyright. Makes sense since we own the government. (At least in theory.)
You can easily use a Google Image Search (GIS) to peruse these images. (This is just one way to do it.)
- Go to http://www.google.com
- Search for something (let’s try “paper airplane”)
- Search results for “Everything” will be displayed by default
- On the left column, click “Images” to narrow your search
- Near the top of the page, under the Search button, click the link that says “Advanced Search”
- Find the box that says “Domain” and enter the following to limit your search to government web site domains: *.gov
- Click the “Google Search” button to search again
- This time the results should only be from images hosted on government domains
I found the image on the left in the search results. I clicked it and was taken to a web site owned by the Federal Aviation Administration. I saved the image to my desktop and then loaded it into my blog.
Viola! It’s that easy.
Note: You should keep in mind that not all images on GOV domains are copyright free. You sometimes have to do a bit of research. Find the “policies” link and see what it says. You can usually get a pretty good idea whether an image is usable or not.
I have seen some city and county government web sites that claim a copyright on their material. I’m not sure what’s up with that. In those rare cases I just shrug and move on.
So don’t forget about the government when you’re looking for a photograph. You might get lucky. NASA is a great source for images. So is the CIA World Factbook and the Library of Congress.
Photographers on the Flickr service have the option of making their pictures available for other uses (or not). One way of letting others share your work is by using a Creative Commons (CC) license. This is a great way to legally find photographs for your blog.
- Go to http://www.flickr.com
- In the search box at the top-right, search for something (lets try “mardis gras”)
- A bunch of pictures will be displayed
- Just like before, find and click the “Advanced Search” link
- Scroll down and find the CC section and check the box that says, “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”
- Click the SEARCH button again
Now you’ll only be seeing images where the license holder allows sharing. Neat, huh? You’ll be amazed at the quality and also the number of pictures available for most searches. There are some great finds here!
Find a picture you like, click to enlarge, then click the SHARE THIS button. Select the “Grab the HTML” option, choose a size, then paste that code into your blog post.
This will automatically create a link back to the original photo on Flickr. Be sure to leave that to say “thank you” to the photographer for sharing.
Here’s one I found for Mardis Gras that tells a nice story.
Sometimes you’ll find an image on Flickr that you want to use but it isn’t flagged as being part of the Creative Commons. Just drop the Flickr member and note and ask permission. I’ve done this many times and it has always worked. Be sure to link the image to the Flickr member’s account and then send them a copy of your post and say thanks.
Open Source Clip Art
If you want clip art rather than a photo, try the Open Clip Art Library for copyright free images. This is where the artwork for Hyppo and Critter came from.
So, that’s just a few ideas. There are many more. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.
How the web was won (is makes me smarter)
Would it be surprising if I told you that I’m shorter in person than I appear on the blog?
Somehow I doubt it.
It turns out that the blog world and the “real” world (for lack of a better term) are decidedly different places. I guess you could say they number among the many stages where I play many varied roles.
In similar fashion, some real life folks (damn them) might not feel I’m as erudite in person as I seem to appear on the blog.
Imagine you are face-to-face with someone and engaged in conversation. Let’s assume that the other person is actually willing to stop talking long enough to let you speak and listen to what you have to say. (Hey! This is my hypothetical. I can make it as outrageous and unrealistic as I want.)
Further, let’s say you are expounding on an utterly fascinating topic of great import to the entire universe. Your strangely attentive companion is hanging on your every word. Wow, situations like this don’t just grow on trees!
In that sort of scenario, what is the one thing you cannot do?
I suggest it is this: Control-T (to open a tab) to a new dimension and look up an elusive word in the dictionary.
Yet, when writing a blog or composing a tweet, I often find myself doing exactly that to help plug some leaking hole in my brain. I realized that it just might make me look smarter than I really is.
So I just wanted to take time out of my day to say thank you to the series of tubes, the internet, the internat*, WordPress, and even Twitter and so forth for making me look smarter (and taller) than I really is in the real world. I owe you one, guys. Just don’t ever ask me how to pronounce one of those words I’ve looked up. That’s the exact moment when the whole house of cards takes a tumble. Laws, yes.
* I received a package from the “internat” the other day. I know this because it said so right on the box!