Tag Archives: tools

Winter Break – Bingo!

Images of Christmas, New Years, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Solstice from Open Clip Art https://bingobaker.com/view/1862418

It’s that time of year again! We are slowing down for the end of term, and gearing up (geeking up?) for the winter break. It’s always a good plan to have some extra activities available for those days where so many people are stuck at home. Following on the heels of last year’s tech comics & coloring books, here’s a collection of bingo options for the IT community!

Some of the bingo cards are designed to be played in groups with a caller, while others are designed to be interactive,  with the player filling in the card as they explore a virtual or game space or watch an event or TV show. You can either play bingo from themed cards designed by other folk, or you can make your own. If the kids are getting wild, you might consider having them design their own bingo cards with one of the many online bingo generators or apps. I’ve tried a few, and am rather fond of Bingo Baker, which has a kid-friendly URL, a community of folk sharing ones they’ve already made (please proof them before showing them to a kid), and tools to make and share your own. EduBaker is another option, similar, but a little less polished.

With Bingo Baker, it will randomly generate a number of different bingo cards from the same set of terms or phrases, it adjusts the text to fit the box, and it provides statistics on how many rounds to expect before someone shouts BINGO! For kids, you might suggest that they create a Bingo set of terms on one of their hobbies, or a favorite TV or Netflix show, or a favorite game. With BingoBaker you can also modify or build upon collections someone else already made, so you can customize after you find something on a topic you like. It is also possible to include images or drawings, and you could make a bingo card for spotting cars on those long drives.

Want to have something quick to print and use? There are, obviously, a lot of bingo cards already available online. Here are some along themes appropriate for your IT holiday party or winter gathering.

Of particular interest to me was the new IT security bingo game created by University of California-Irvine as an interactive educational activity for their students. Pretty darned clever! I wonder how it’s been received, or if this would be something to try here.  

If you want something that doesn’t have the risks of the big community collections for younger kids, Chris Osric made a very simple bingo card generator you could explore, and here’s a popular Anime-Bingo generator. There are also guidelines and tips in WikiHow and Instructables for making your own bingo cards, and more.  Examples include the basics, Avengers Bingo (visual), Comic Con Bingo (visual), Hipster Bingo (visual), Human Bingo (an ice breaker for parties), Super Mario, and Super Bowl Bingo for that most magical day (although you might prefer WIRED’s Superbowl Ad Bingo!). Check out these example Comic Con Bingo cards from New York, San Diego, Denver, Dash of Different. There are a TON of cosplay bingo options, but in the interests of remaining family friendly, I’m limiting the options here to the picture-based one from Tampa Bay Times (pdf), Comrade Comics and Anime Expo (both also visual), and the text-based one from AnimeCons.  If you have Arduino geeks in your house, you can make a bingo number generator.  

Last but not least, there are also a number of more family-friendly bingo cards already designed around various geeky and nerdy themes. Here are a few, just for fun, including some that are visual for preschoolers and non-readers. Some of these focus on critical thinking, by scanning for specific patterns of plot or character deficiencies, script crutches, and similar ways to watch a program more thoughtfully. There’s content here for a range of ages, from preschool to high school, so be sure to check them out before giving to the younger crowd.

Have you found or made some you enjoyed? Share them in the comments!

New Year Surprises

You know the line “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing“?

Well, I can’t believe how little I’ve been here. I am absolutely SHOCKED that I haven’t blogged in over a MONTH! Of course, this is because I’ve been so gosh all darned busy, both at work and at home. Just briefly, what all is keeping me away is probably of interest to folk.

* Opioid Overdose Summit
* Microbes and Mood
* Design Lab & Coloring
* PaGamO (Gaming)
* Graphic Medicine
* Librarians & Artists’ Books
* Sleep Trackers


First, a couple days after the last post, I was a keynote for the November meeting of MDMLG (Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group). It was a wonderful experience, a great group. I really enjoyed being with them, and by all reports, they enjoyed my talk. There are rumors that I might repeat it locally, and I’ve been pondering maybe repeating it in a Hangout or something for other folk. Maybe. In any case, here are the slides!

But is an Emerging Technologies Informationist a Librarian?


Dashed away to visit family for the November holiday, dashed back, and immediately was livetweeting the UofM sponsored Opioid Overdose Summit. Another fantastic event! I’ve been working on a big beautiful Storify of the event for the last month, but the Storify platform developed a glitch and ate the whole thing. Unfortunately, the only engineer who MIGHT be able to restore the file from backup is out on vacation for another week, so for now I can offer you links to the UM Injury Center’s agenda, slides in Slideshare, their videos, and the hashtag #uminjuryctr.


The same week, I also livetweeted the seminar, “Gut Feelings: Microbes, Mood, & Metabolism” from the Depression Center’s Colloquium Series. It was a wonderful triple of presenters on how emerging and historic research is revealing connections between our microbiome (the bacteria that live in and on us) impact our own emotions. Powerful and exciting stuff.

I was making a Storify of this, too, but the same glitch (which prevent some content from being inserted and erases other content) has made it impossible for me to finish, so I’m releasing it in the raw form.


The following week I worked on various Storify stories in progress and had a bunch of meetings. One of the meetings was with the new Design Lab that lives on the main floor of the Shapiro Library, where we started planning a workshop which will sneakily use the adult coloring craze as a way to teach things like internet search skills, internet security, paper/art/book preservation concepts, some online tools and toys, etc. The workshop is happening next week, and I think it is going to be super cool. Just to whet your appetite, here is an example.

Original image:
Fleming Building at Sunset

Coloring version of the same image:
UM: Fleming


PaGamO Screenshot

I didn’t livetweet this, but I felt very lucky that I was able to attend the small presentation by Dr. Benson Yeh on PaGamO for education. The lecture was FANTASTIC and was recorded, so I am hoping for a video to be available soon. In the meantime, here are a few links.

Why one professor created the first-ever social gaming platform for a MOOC http://blogs.coursera.org/post/64423209807/why-one-professor-created-the-first-ever-social

ReImagine Education 2015 Wharton Awards: PAGAMO, The World’s First Event Multi-Student Social Gaming, National Taiwan University; Winner: 1st Place E-Learning http://www.reimagine-education.com/the-winners-individual/8/PaGamO

PaGamO: First-ever Multi-student Social Gaming Platform for General Course (SLIDES) http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/pedagogical/website/files/theme/awards/winners/slider/pag/Benson_Wharton%20Award_V2.pdf

PaGamO, the world’s first ever MOOC-based multi-student social game platform https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKAWPqRtIe0


The next day, we had the first EVER meeting of the newly formed Graphic Medicine Interest Group for the University of Medicine. I took notes and lots of pictures, but the pictures did not end up in Flickr when I tried to put them there, so I have to hope they are in my hard drive backup for the phone. In the meantime, here is a picture of some of the graphic medicine titles I keep in my office when I have consults on the topic.

Graphic Medicine & Comics

Books included in this image:

1) REAL, by Takehiko Inoue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_(manga)
2) Graphic Medicine Manifesto, by by MK Czerwiec, Ian Williams, Susan Merrill Squier, Michael J. Green, Kimberly R. Myers, Scott T. Smith http://www.graphicmedicine.org/book-series/graphic-medicine-manifesto/
3) The Bad Doctor, by Ian Williams http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-06754-4.html
4) On Purpose, by Vic Strecher http://www.dungbeetle.org/
5) Neurocomic, by Hana Ros, Matteo Farinella http://www.neurocomic.org/
6) Epileptic, by David B. http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/books/reviews/10851/
7) CancerVixen, by Marisa Acocella Marchetto http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/14/books/a-vixen-cartooning-in-the-face-of-cancer.html | http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/107478/cancer-vixen-by-marisa-acocella-marchetto/9780375714740/
8) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/books/review/roz-chasts-cant-we-talk-about-something-more-pleasant.html
9) Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, by Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli http://boingboing.net/2014/11/30/second-avenue-caper-when-good.html | http://www.cleveland.com/books/index.ssf/2014/11/joyce_brabner_creates_a_graphi.html
10) Diary of a Teenage Girl, by Phoebe Glockner http://stamps.umich.edu/creative-work/stories/phoebe | http://www.npr.org/2015/08/13/431997207/a-diary-unlocked-a-teenage-coming-of-age-story-put-on-film
11) The Spiral Cage, by Al Davison http://the-toast.net/2014/11/03/disability-and-the-work-of-al-davison/
12) Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud http://scottmccloud.com/2-print/1-uc/
13) Oh Joy, Sex Toy, by Erika Moen http://www.graphicmedicine.org/comic-reviews/oh-joy-sex-toy-2/ | http://www.ohjoysextoy.com/
14) Chop, Sizzle, Wow, by The Silver Spoon and Adriano Rampazzo. https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/chop-sizzle-wow/ | http://www.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/chop-sizzle-wow-the-silver-spoon-comic-book-9780714868202/


A few days later, in between my frantically working on the Storifys and an article deadline, I was doublebooked to livetweet two lectures, and had to pick one. So, I picked the one that was related to the library and was being presented by friends and colleagues. It was incredible, and again I took lots of pictures that are hopefully on that other hard drive. I had been hoping to enrich the Storify with those, but that isn’t going to happen until Storify fixes their bug with inserting links into story streams. So, here is another partially completed Storify, this one on the amazing artists working in the library making phenomenal art books. Beautiful.


Pebble Pals

Last but not least, we finished and submitted our article on sleep trackers for consumers and how they may or may not be useful in healthcare. It was an exciting and rewarding project, but I don’t want to say too much until we hear if the article is accepted. It was a LOT of work, and we compared many dozens of devices and tools. Learned a lot, and I hope the article is accepted. I must confess, I found it ironic that my own sleep tracker (Pebble + Misfit) quit working over the holiday. Color me perplexed.


So you can see why I was so busy I wasn’t getting blogging done? I’ll be a little absent for a while yet, still, since I have a few presentations next week, and piles of meetings coming up. But I’ll have to tell you all about what I’m doing with comics and hashtags and coloring in a future installment. And the weird Storify glitch that is supposedly only impacting me and one other person. Hope you all had a great holiday and end-of-the-year, with expectations of a Happy (and productive and fulfilling) New Year!

Molecular Biology & Genomics SIG Meeting #mlanet15

Part 1 of a series of blogposts I wrote for the recent Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association.

MolBio & Genomics SIG #mlanet15

I’m trying to track what’s going on with emerging technologies, new tools, new-to-me tools, and so forth. I’m not an official member of the MolBioGen SIG, but I wish I was (especially since personal genomics is one of my hobbies). I learned so much at their meeting Monday morning. The best part was the Round Table, where they each talked about who they are, what they do, what’s new at their place. Now, this was exciting! They talked about many tools they seemed to all know and take for granted, and I’ll share some of those later. They also had so many exciting and creative ideas for how to engage their target audiences, types of classes that are most effective, crowdsourcing instruction from within the audience, strategic partnerships that make a difference, strategies for point-of-care genomics, and so much more.

Here are the tools that I found most interesting.



Online Bioinformatics Resource Collection
Bioinformatics MOOCs Example

Galaxy Project

Open Helix
(Note: These folk are in the Exhibit Hall, if you haven’t seen them yet.)



Data Carpentry
Data Carpentry

Project Hydra


NCBI: Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO)
GEO (Gene Expression Omnibus)

Complete Genome: Public Genome Data
Complete Genomics Public Data

NYU Data Catalog
NYU Data Catalog

Want more? Check out the Storify!

Anonymous Social Media Overview, Part Two: Selected Anonymous Social Tools

Anonymous Social Media Overview

I find it a little ironic that the big blowup with Whisper happened this week, while I’m in the middle of this series about anonymous apps (Part 1). Oh, you didn’t hear about that? Well, the gist of it is if you think you’re anonymous, you’re not; if you think they aren’t tracking you, they are; and that the only place that really destroys your usage information completely after you’re done is probably your public library, and even that is becoming iffy. But that is a topic probably best suited for the NEXT post in this series, since the conversation around the exposé is still expanding dramatically. Here’s just the intro piece.

Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe. Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users. The Guardian Thursday 16 October 2014 11.35 EDT. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/16/-sp-revealed-whisper-app-tracking-users

What I wanted to do in this post was simply walk through a quick introduction to some of the more prominent tools and services in the anonymous social media space. What has struck me is that while many of these are general, others target fairly specific audiences, such as high school students with YikYak, youth with Snapchat, and corporate with Confide.


Cloaq http://www.cloaq.co

Confide https://getconfide.com

Ello https://ello.co/beta-public-profiles

Peek https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/peek-for-iphone/id722634039?mt=8

Peek In Too http://www.peekintoo.com

PostSecret http://postsecret.com

Rumr http://rumrapp.com

Secret https://www.secret.ly

Six Billion Secrets http://www.sixbillionsecrets.com/top
Six Billion Secrets on Tumblr http://sixbillionsecrets.tumblr.com
Six Billion Secrets on Twitter https://twitter.com/6BillionSecrets

Snapchat https://www.snapchat.com

Sneeky http://www.sneekyapp.com

Social Number http://socialnumber.com

Spraffl http://www.spraffl.com

Spring (formerly Formspring) http://new.spring.me/

StreetChat http://www.streetchatapp.com

Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/

Whisper http://whisper.sh

Wut http://www.wutwut.com

YikYak http://www.yikyakapp.com

Common Problems in Systematic Review Searches: Right Side Truncation? NOT! (A PreziTube Test)

Common Problems in Systematic Review Searches: Right Side Truncation? NOT! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMLiozo-lwg

A couple days ago, I was offered a coupon / voucher to test PreziTube. PreziTube is a tool that automatically exports your Prezi presentation to a Youtube video format, both downloadable and with the option of automatically uploading to Youtube. For this test, the automatic upload option ended up in their Youtube account, not mine, and I am not sure if there is an option to work around that if you pay for the privilege.

Playing with Prezitube & iMovie
PreziTube: http://prezitube.com/

Now, I’ve had issues for a LOOOONG time with the lack of accessibility in Prezi. This seemed like a tool that might help with some portion of that process, so I was interested. Definitely interested.

I went to Prezi to find whichever of my Prezi presentations is the most popular. Ah, yes, one on systematic review searching and truncation.

Systematic Review Searching: Right-Side Truncation? NOT! http://prezi.com/77qy3sfhq_tv/systematic-review-searching-right-side-truncation-not/

I put in the link and the voucher code and gave it a try.

Playing with Prezitube & iMovie

Prezitube offers a variety of timing options, but the assumption is that each “slide” within the Prezi will receive the same length of time. Since this presentation was rather text heavy, and I wasn’t sure just how long these times, I went for the middle. The range offered is from 4 to 30, and for this video I chose 15.

I downloaded the video, wished I had an audio voiceover, but didn’t want to take the time, so I just grabbed some amusing-to-me public domain audio from the Internet Archive, and spliced that in with iMovie. I have access to other video editing tools, but I wanted to see what could be done with virtually no resources.

Playing with Prezitube & iMovie

And the link to the audio track used.

Kay Kyser – Some Day I’ll Find You 1937 (posted as “Kay Kaiser&kollegeOf MusicalKnowkege10f2”) https://archive.org/details/KayKaiserkollegeofMusicalknowkege10f2

Now, this took almost no time at all. It probably took me about a half hour to make the video. It took me about 2 hours to upload it to Youtube, because Youtube was being glitchy that day. Not great, but absolutely worth a half hour of my time.

Now, do I want to do this for more Prezis? The free version gives you tiny videos and you can’t download. For $6.99 you may download and get high resolution videos, with support if something goes wrong. Hmmm, maybe, maybe. Maybe next time, I’ll do the systematic review Prezi on phrase searching.

Systematic Review Searching: Word Order in Phrase Searching http://prezi.com/vrzaimpaignp/systematic-review-searching-word-order-in-phrase-searching/

Finding & Using Images, Lessons Learned (the Hard Way)

I can talk for a very long time about finding Creative Commons and Public Domain images, and the tricks and troubles associated with doing so. This is going to be an image-heavy words-light post about some of what I’ve learned over the past several years. For the short short version, go right to the bottom for my favorite places to find images to use.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons: New License Chooser

Many people say “Creative Commons” as a one-size-fits-all term for I-can-use-this-picture-without-paying-money-and-not-get-in-legal-trouble. That isn’t what it means. Some people still believe that they can take and use any image on any website. This is not remotely true! I myself use a lot of screenshots, and had some earnest worried talks with University Counsel before starting to do so. Strictly speaking, the screenshots may be a questionable practice from a legal point of view, but it has become common practice and rarely causes a problem as long as the site is open to the public. The caveat? If someone complains, be prepared to take the image down, and apologize.

Most of the images people are thinking of that fall into the safe-to-use category are actually public domain. Creative Commons usually applies when someone made a new image that could be copyrighted and has chosen to give advance permissions for some types of use, but not all. This means you can re-use the images in some ways, but can still get into trouble if you don’t do something they asked (like keep their name with the image) or do something they asked people NOT to do (like rework the image).

The Creative Commons organization has a tool to help people decide what license to choose for their own images. I find that tool very helpful in understanding how the creator of the image was thinking about their own work, and thus allowing me to be more respectful of their stated requirements.

Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/

Choose a License: http://creativecommons.org/choose/

University of Michigan Libraries Research Guides: Creative Commons: http://guides.lib.umich.edu/content.php?pid=483716

What is Public Domain?

Public domain basically means when an image or text is not copyrightable. This can be because of who created it, what type of information it includes, or that it used to be copyrighted and is now too old. The best simple overview of this is from Lolly Gasaway.

Lolly Gasaway: When US Works Pass Into the Public Domain: http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm

If you want a lot more information about public domain, check out the manifesto, which discusses many of the issues of public domain in the contemporary online environment.

The Public Domain Manifesto: http://www.publicdomainmanifesto.org/node/8

I Can Use This Because It’s Old … Maybe

Historic images are often considered to be public domain, but … not always. If the photograph of the original image is copyrighted, then it doesn’t matter how old the original was. If I went to a museum, they probably won’t allow me to take pictures. If they do, and I take a picture of a painting there (like this picture of St. Apollonia from the University of Michigan Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry), there are issues with (a) did I have permission to take the image, (b) did I have permission to share the image, (c) did I give permission to use or share the image, and so forth.

Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry: St. Apollonia

OR (and this is important), I could follow the assumptions of the Wikimedia Commons team:

The official position taken by the Wikimedia Foundation is that “faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain, and that claims to the contrary represent an assault on the very concept of a public domain”. For details, see Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag. This photographic reproduction is therefore also considered to be in the public domain.

In that case, a straight-on shot of the complete work is usually considered safe to use. That is also the case for this next image.

This next image is of a Japanese calligraphy created in 1923. In USA law, that would be in the public domain. I found it in Wikimedia Commons, my favorite place to find public domain and creative commons images. Why I like them best is because they give the full provenance (or history) of the image, why they think it is legally ok to use, where they got it, and what license or credit should be given with the image when used.

Example public domain image

From Wikimedia Commons

File:Zen painting and calligraphy on silk signed Hachijûgo (85 year old) Nantembô Tôjû, 1923.jpg: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zen_painting_and_calligraphy_on_silk_signed_Hachij%C3%BBgo_(85_year_old)_Nantemb%C3%B4_T%C3%B4j%C3%BB,_1923.jpg

Because this is considered public domain, there is no license statement provided with it, but if I dig into the information in the image summary, I can find more about where it come from to provide a proper source and attribution. Notice that the image is actually from a book or journal, still in print, and available for purchase. I am sure glad that Wikimedia made the judgment call on this one, because I would not feel safe using it if they had not already established precedent.

English: Zen painting and calligraphy on silk by Nakahara Nantenbo signed “Hachijūgo (85 year old) Nantembō Tōjū”, 1923
Date: 1923
Source: Andon, No. 85, p. 59
Author: Nakahara Nantenbo

Because it is considered public domain, I can do pretty much ANYTHING with it. I can use it in writings or slides, change its format, reprint it as a poster or tshirt and sell it, recolor it, make it 3D, make a parody of it, convert it into music, move it into a virtual world, and so forth. In the image below, I moved it into Second Life, where I made a poster of it for the wall of a memorial for the victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

Pic of the day - Sad Face

I Can Use This Because I Made It Different … Sometimes

Here’s a similar example, with important differences.

From Wikimedia Commons

Low-resolution image of Escher’s Relativity print

Escher’s Relativity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Escher%27s_Relativity.jpg

Now this one is from 1953, and is not out of copyright anywhere in the world. Even more confusing, the image is taken directly from Escher’s own official website. How can they get away with this?

“This image is of a drawing, painting, print, or other two-dimensional work of art, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the artist who produced the image, the person who commissioned the work, or the heirs thereof. It is believed that the use of low-resolution images of works of art for critical commentary on
* the work in question,
* the artistic genre or technique of the work of art or
* the school to which the artist belongs
on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.”

People love this print, and it has been re-used in many different ways. Here is an example of a couple of avatars wandering around in a 3d replica of the space.

Cool Toys Pic of the day - Primtings Museum

Here is a link to a copyrighted image of a reconstruction of the print as a real world 3d object, made with … LEGOs.

Escher’s “Relativity” in LEGO®: http://www.andrewlipson.com/escher/relativity.html

What makes these ok? They aren’t exactly low-rez images, but what they are is substantially innovative reworkings of the original concept. That can be a tricky point in intellectual property law, so don’t trust on it as a get-out-of-jail-free-card.

I Can Use This Because the Government Made It … Maybe

There is a perception that it is OK to take and use any image on any website that has a government web address (“.gov”). Often that’s pretty close, but again, it is not always true, only sometimes. Sometimes the government uses images made by other people who are not government employees. Rights for those images belong to the person who made them, or to the company they work for. You need to know which, and you usually need to ask first just to be sure. Read the fine print.

“Some of these photos are in the public domain or U.S. government works and may be used without permission or fee. However, some images may be protected by license or copyright. You should read the disclaimers on each site before using these images.” U.S. Government Photos and Images: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Graphics.shtml

So, I’m a bit of an astro fan, and just love astronomy images. Here is one from the Hubble telescope, credited to NASA, the European Space Agency, and Hubble themselves.

Cat's Eye Nebula
Cat’s Eye Nebula: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/pr2004027a/
Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Acknowledgment: R. Corradi (Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, Spain) and Z. Tsvetanov (NASA)

If you look at the image on the Hubble site, they give information for how to credit the image, and it isn’t entirely clear on the image page if it is legal to use or not. They do have another page for all their images stating they use Creative Commons licensing requiring attribution.

Hubble: Usage of images, videos and web texts: http://www.spacetelescope.org/copyright/

They actually had a big contest for folk who used or spotted uses of their images in Popular Culture. I won 3rd place for “Weird” with this dress and avatar design, in which the image above (the Cat’s Eye Nebula) became the eyes of the avatar. And this is all perfectly fine and hunky-dory, and I even won copies of some images and videos from them.

Hubble Gown


There are a TON of places that say they offer a search for images that are creative commons, public domain, or royalty free. Most of them are not actually very safe to use. I’m going to show you several here, with brief comments along the lines of yes, no, maybe so.

Creative Commons Search, Yea or Nay
CompFight: http://compfight.com/

They use the Flickr API to provide an alternate Flickr search experience, powered by ads. Why not just go to Flickr? PS – There are so many other search engines that say they are Creative Commons search engines that are really just using the Flickr API. I am not going to list them all.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons
Creative Commons: Search: http://search.creativecommons.org/

“Do not assume that the results displayed in this search portal are under a CC license. You should always verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link.”

Creative Commons Search, Yea or Nay
Flickr: The Commons: http://www.flickr.com/commons

Creative Commons Search, Yea or Nay
Flickr: Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

When people search creative commons images in Flickr, they often aren’t aware that there are TWO completely different “Commons” in Flickr. When you search or browse “The Commons” you are getting images from schools, libraries, museums, and other famous and authoritative sources. When you search Flickr’s “Creative Commons” search you are trusting whoever put the image there. Not everyone is equally savvy and responsible.

I once had posted a slidedeck that used images from Flickr’s Creative Commons search. I listed the sources of all the images, with link, and then went back to each Flickr page and posted a thank you for making their image CC-licensed, giving the link to where I used it. One of the posters then commented on my comment, saying, “Don’t thank me! I took the image from [insert here name of most famous newspaper you can think of].” Oh. Uh oh. Oh, no.

Google: Image Search
Creative Commons
Google: Advanced Image Search: https://www.google.com/advanced_image_search?hl=en&biw=953&bih=787&q=commons&tbm=isch

Close up:
Creative Commons

Google Image Search is a case of Good News, Bad News. The Good News is, “Wow, look! They have a way to let you search by license or image rights!” The Bad News is that, of necessity, they trust the information provided on the source page about licensing, and sometimes people steal images, often without realizing they are doing so, and repost them with more freedom than was provided under the original license. That means many, if not most, of the images listed as Creative Commons in Google’s Image Search, well, AREN’T!!

Cool Toys Pic of the Day - ImageStamper
Imagestamper: http://www.imagestamper.com/

Not an image search site, but a license management site. Imagestamper offers to manage licensing for you, and keep a record of the license you negotiated at a particularly point in time. The logic is that some images appear to be Creative Commons at one point in time, and then later the owner changes their mind. This really does happen. Ouch. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s still alive.

In their words: “The service is in early beta. Currently the service works with images hosted on Flickr, but we will soon add support for images hosted on deviantART and a number of other image-sharing websites. © 2008-2011 ImageStamper.com”

Morgue File
Creative Commons Search, Yea or Nay
Morgue File: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/

They use a their own home-grown variant of Creative Commons licensing that hasn’t been tested in the courts, and is thus not reliable. Basically, who really knows if these images are safe to use, and how to properly provide attribution?

Noun Project
Cool Toys Pic of the day - Noun Project
Noun Project: http://thenounproject.com/

Absolutely fabulous site, but only for images of icons created for and submitted to the site. More info.

Cool Toys Pic of the day - ookaboo
Ookaboo: http://ookaboo.com/o/pictures/

Mostly mines Wikimedia Commons for content, under a different interface. Personally, I prefer the original. More info.

Cool Toys pics of the day: SpinXPress
SpinXPress: http://www.spinxpress.com/getmedia

This is basically a different interface to searching from the Creative Commons portal, with many of the same caveats, and some new ones, too. More Info

Wikimedia Commons
Cool Toys Pic of the Day - Wikimedia Commons (Open Free Pics, Photos and Media)
Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/

But always:
1) click on the image to go to the page for the image information, and
2) scroll to the bottom of the page for each image to check licensing information and use their recommended credit or attribution statement.

Cool Toys Pic of the day - WylioCreative Commons Search, Yea or Nay
Cool Toys Pic of the day - WylioCool Toys Pic of the day - Wylio
Wylio: http://www.wylio.com/

They used to say they’d manage licensing for you, now that’s not clear. They used to just let you search, and now they require you to log in with a Google account. They want you to pay them for the full service, but these are images that are supposed to be free. And on the bottom of the results pages, they feed you to sites that sell images for money. I dunno. Hmmm.


I can use this because:
– it’s old
– it’s different from the original
– the government made it


Read the fine print.
Ask for permission if you aren’t sure.
Don’t assume.


1. Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org

2. Flickr Commons (NOT Flickr Creative Commons): http://www.flickr.com/commons

3. For University of Michigan people, here is more information, LOTS more information!

Research Guides: Images: http://guides.lib.umich.edu/content.php?pid=32604

Creative Commons Licensing: Why and When?

Creative Commons: New License Chooser

I was just asked about whether or not to use Creative Commons licensing for slide decks put in Slideshare. Part of the conversation included the phrase “I want to block embeds”, which was pretty shocking to me. This type of conversation has tended to crop up for me most often with small business owners. Now, I’m working in academia. It’s a little different. So I can provide my thoughts on Creative Commons licensing pros and cons, but truly, it might be different for you. I have to respect the opinions of my friends who refuse to use CC licensing because of fear of loss of income, even when the very idea seem utterly baffling and contrary to me.

From my point of view, the number one benefit to Creative Commons licensing is that it protects your ideas, your brand, your creation. I used to have copyrighted websites. What I found happened was that the copyright seemed almost like a red flag to a bull, a taunt, as if I was saying, “This is mine, not yours, nyah, nyah, nyah.” People not only stole the content, but went through a fair amount of work to do so, and edited out anything that implied I ever had any authorship. Pretty hurtful. When I shared it more openly and freely, people used it, but kept my name with it. They asked me for permission. I got free stuff that folks made with mine. I even get comments on Twitter along the lines of, “Hey, we’re watching one of your presentations for my class in Canada!” I don’t know about who it is or how they are using it, but folk know it is my ideas. This has given me a reputation that I could never have built without other people sharing my ideas for me.

Red Magma: Something for Nothing: http://www.slideshare.net/redmagma/something-for-nothing

Here’s an interesting example as a case study.

CASE STUDY: Beth Kanter

Beth Kanter is the author of Beth’s Blog: Nonprofits and Social Media, and a consultant who both applies social media to nonprofits and advises and consults with nonprofits. Beth has written and published books, is a frequent invited speaker and keynote, and has quite a prominent presence with concommitant prestige (About Beth). Now, even though small businesses are for profit, from my perspective small businesses and academia both have a great deal in common with nonprofit motives, sensibilities, strategies, and processes.

Beth has a licensing statement that applies to her entire blog: “This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.” Would Beth have the recognition that she does if she had chosen to NOT make her content Creative Commons? I don’t think so, not at all. Making your content available encourages people to re-use and cite your work. Face it, for each person who likes what you’ve done and re-uses it, this is free advertising. And it pays off, it really does.

Here is a great post Beth wrote back in 2009 about “setting your content free.”

Kanter, Beth. What happens when you set your content free with creative commons licensing? http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2009/03/what-happens-when-you-set-your-content-free-with-creative-commons-licensing.html

Now, before you read any further, go to her blog and read the comments on that post. An active conversation ensued including tools, ROI (return on investment), expressions of gratitude, with many comments from her fans in notable places from Public Library of Science to AIDS.gov.

OK, now what happened next? Someone seemed to have copied the entire post and put a copy in their blog.

Spreading Science. The benefits of Creative Commons licenses. http://www.spreadingscience.com/2009/03/05/the-benefits-of-creative-commons-licenses/

I know what you’re thinking. Something along the lines of, “Whoa! I bet she was upset about THAT!” or “Hey! That’s not fair!” Also worth noting is that when I did my Google search that brought me these two links, Google ranked the Spreading Science post higher than Beth’s original. Now, how do you feel about that?

Now, go read the comments on THIS post. Beth and Richard go back and forth discussing how he adapted her original post, and both of them are pretty happy about it. They discuss the difference between attribution, copying, mash-ups, and more. It ends with Beth giving Richard free permission to do the same in the future with other of her posts. Beth has a win/win here. A new friend and potential collaborator, increased prominence and respect, attention directed back to her blog, and an expanded conversation around issues she cares about. If anyone does read the copy before her original, it cites her name and links back to the original post, and they can see from her comments that she is quite a pleasant person who actually does what she tells others to do.

There are LOTS of examples like this. I could not begin to collect them all. Many thousands. I am less aware of significant examples showing bad things happening from CC licensing, but that may be a selection bias on my part.

So, now, what if you are still REALLY uncomfortable with sharing content, or worried that you will lose income because of it? Here are some tips for the transition.

1. Be selective.

You don’t have to share everything for free. Share samples or examples or portions. Free samples have always been a great way to boost sales, IF the sample is something people actually want.

2. Design content to both engage but also leave significant space for what’s off-screen.

There are very sound pedagogical reasons for designing slides with few words (cognitive load theory). There are also very sound economic reasons. You can show off your visual skills while still reserving your skills as a speaker and presenter.

3. Consider the type of content.

You might want to share a graphic that distills the gist of your thought, but reserve the book or presentations that unpack that graphic, that explain what it means and how to use it effectively. This could be phenomenally attractive to those that have already attended one of your sessions, because they GET it, but can still attract those who want to attend a session and haven’t yet.

4. Consider the source of the content.

If you are heavily using open content from other folk, there is often a requirement or expectation that you will “share alike.” This means that if you are using someone else’s CC-licensed content, it is at best courteous to place your content also under a CC-license, and at worst illegal if you don’t.

Also, a word to the wise? If you are using public content, for example, a collection of tweets from the public stream, and then you try to lock down what you’ve created with other people’s content, it makes you look greedy and selfish. This will not make you look good. Yes, there are ways to curate or repurpose public content in ways where the law will allow you to copyright the new collection, but it is still often seen as rude. Stop and think about just how much new value you’ve contributed, and if a closed license is going to pay off for you more than the bad will you risk creating. It’s probably not worth it.

5. Consider the filetype.

Slideshare makes a great example for this. Let’s say you want to share a slidedeck. If you allow downloads, and then load the PPT or PPTX file, other folk can not only download the file, but can edit it later. That means they could keep the entire slidedeck the same, take out your name, and insert theirs.

There is a Canadian med school faculty member who did that with one of mine. Yes, I’m offended, BUT, the important part is that mine is still listed first in search results, has more views, more blogs, etcetera. So I am ignoring him, so that his content doesn’t get the panache of negative spin from my feeding him attention through being upset.

Instead, I learned my lesson, and if I feel strongly that I don’t want this to happen, instead of loading the original editable file, I load a PDF. There are other reasons to load a PDF, also. The PDF tends to do a better job of preserving the original formatting and fonts. I like to use creative fonts, so in general loading a PDF instead of a source file is better for me. Similar strategies can apply to other types of documents as well.

6. Watermark your content in some fashion (think steganography).

You can edit your image to have your name and date on it. You can use special tools to include encrypted data in your image or video. These mark the image as originating with you even if someone else steals it. However, this is an extra step, more work, and for me it is a real hassle. It slows you down for getting content out. This strategy seems to be primarily of value to photographers and other visual artists.



5 Lesser-Known Benefits to Creative Commons http://www.blogherald.com/2009/01/05/5-lesser-known-benefits-to-creative-commons/
– Search Engine Benefit
– Greater Copyright Clarity
– More Likely to be Quoted
– Less Time Dealing with Infringement
– An Actual License

5: Want to work together? (or) Don’t Compete, Collaborate! http://pjsingleton.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/everythings-better-when-you-share-it/

Abrahams, David W. How Creative Commons licensing benefits industry. http://davidabrahams.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/how-creative%C2%A0commons%C2%A0licensing-benefits-industry/

JISC: Creative Commons Licenses, Briefing Paper (PDF). http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/bpcreativecommonsv1.pdf
– Simple legally
– Easy sharing & reuse
– Flexibility
– Improved access
– Administrative simplicity

Merritt, Tom. Does Creative Commons free your content? C|NET October 13, 2005. http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3000_7-6357305-1.html
“But it’s a gamble, and it’s not for everyone. Some people are making good use of that gamble. Some are even making money. Some just get marginally famous. Some just want to contribute to the world. That’s the corny part that a lot of people don’t trust or believe. And they don’t have to. But it doesn’t make Creative Commons dangerous or useless.”

Caveats, Debates, & Warnings

The Future of Creative Commons: Examining defenses of the NC and ND clauses http://freeculture.org/blog/2012/09/19/the-future-of-creative-commons-examining-defenses-of-the-nc-and-nd-clauses/

Moxley, Joe. Contrary to arguments by hardcore open education advocates, Creative Commons NC ND is a valid license for academic authors. http://academeblog.org/2012/12/18/the-commons-debate-is-cc-nc-nd-a-valid-license/

No, you are not allowed to use ANY Flickr images: http://www.seosmarty.com/flickr-creative-commons/

Creative Commons

Creative Commons. http://creativecommons.org/

Creative Commons License Chooser. http://creativecommons.org/choose/

Evidence-based? What’s the GRADE?

GRADE Working Group

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with healthcare’s dependence on grading systems, kitemarks, seals of approval, etcetera, especially in the realm of websites and information for patients or general health literacy. It is rather a different matter when it comes to information for clinicians and healthcare providers (HCPs). There, we typically depend on the peer-review process to give clinicians confidence in the information on which they base their clinical decisions for patient care. Retraction Watch and others have made it clear that simply being published is no longer (if it ever was) an assurance of quality and dependability of healthcare information. As long as I’ve been working as a medical librarian, I’ve been hearing from med school faculty that their students don’t do the best job of critically appraising the medical literature. I suspect this is something that medical faculty have said for many generations, and that it is nothing new. Still, it is welcome to find tools and training to help improve awareness of the possible weaknesses of the literature and how to assess quality.

During some recent excellent and thought provoking conversations on the Evidence-Based Health list, GRADE was brought up yet again by Per Olav Vandvik. There have been several conversations about GRADE in this group, but I thought perhaps some of the readers of this blog might not be aware of it yet. Here’s a brief intro.

GRADE stands for “Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation.” GRADE Working Group is the managing organization. I like their back history: “The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (short GRADE) Working Group began in the year 2000 as an informal collaboration of people with an interest in addressing the shortcomings of present grading systems in health care.”

GRADE Working Group: http://www.gradeworkinggroup.org/index.htm

Playlist of Presentations on GRADE by the American Thoracic Society:

Free software to support the GRADE process.

Cochrane: RevMan: GRADEpro: http://ims.cochrane.org/revman/gradepro

UpToDate GRADE Tutorial: http://www.uptodate.com/home/grading-tutorial

20-part article series in Journal of Clinical Epidemiology explaining GRADE. These articles focus on:
– Rating the quality of evidence
– Summarizing the evidence
– Diagnostic tests
– Making recommendations
– GRADE and observational studies

GRADE guidelines – best practices using the GRADE framework: http://www.gradeworkinggroup.org/publications/JCE_series.htm

New York Academy of Medicine is having a training session on GRADE this coming August. You can find more information here.

Teaching Evidence Assimilation for Collaborative Healthcare: http://www.nyam.org/fellows-members/ebhc/
PDF on GRADE section of the course: http://www.nyam.org/fellows-members/docs/2013-More-Information-on-Level-2-GRADE.pdf

Medlib’s Blog Carnival 2.1: Free Speech in Health Information, and More

WARNING: After this entry was originally posted, it came to my attention that I had not received all of the early entries for this round of the Carnival. The following post was edited to reflect these updates.

In the context of the looming deadline for comments on the FDA’s development of social media guidelines, the Medlib’s Blog Carnival theme this month was on free speech in health information. Briefly, the FDA has a long history of managing and establishing guidelines to prevent unethical publication of inaccurate or misleading health information from persons or corporate entities promoting the use or sales of drugs or medical devices. The flip side of this is to encourage informed decisionmaking based on high quality unbiased health information. There were few submissions this month, but those received were sound contributions looking at various aspects of this complicated issue.

Laika provided not one, but TWO excellent posts. The first one, “NOT ONE RCT on Swine Flu or H1N1?! – Outrageous!,” discusses the issue of popular news and hype as opinion influencers in comparison with actual research. Taking H1N1 as an example, she begins with a Twitter post and popular press, then discusses when it is appropriate to expect what kind of evidence in support of a question, simple tips for finding better quality evidence, as well as specific scientific and clinical contextual issues that beautifully illustrate not just issues of scientific research and methodology, access to information and information quality assessment, but also quite a bit of useful information about H1N1 itself! Laika provides a strong voice for clear reason and balanced information, but at the same time respects the importance of scientific dialog and communication in shaping the evolution of what we know about any given topic.

Laika’s MedLibLog: NOT ONE RCT on Swine Flu or H1N1?! – Outrageous!. http://laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/not-one-rct-on-swine-flu-or-h1n1-outrageous/

In her second post for this Carnival, Laika again zeroes in on the issue of dialog in science, and the broader issue of respect. This is true not just for dialog between scientists, as in the example she discusses, but even more so among the public and news media. The life lessons learned by Laika in her tale of disrespect and influence among scientists are ones we should all keep in mind when observing disagreements about science. I wanted to cheer when I read her excellent, methodical review of the limits of evidence-based medicine, and when one should or should not apply its finding to a given situation. While EBM is a very useful tool, I also have encountered worrisome instances in which a useful, low-risk, low-cost intervention is not used because there are not yet sufficient RCTs or because it is being researched for XYZ use but hasn’t yet been approved for it by the FDA. When EBM becomes a barrier to good clinical care, we have a different problem. I particularly liked the example she gave of a systematic review finding insufficient evidence to support the use of parachutes when jumping from a plane, and the selection of quotations from comments. My favorite, succinct and clear, was this line from a clinician at my institution, “RCTs aren’t holy writ, they’re simply a tool for filtering out our natural human biases in judgment and causal attribution. Whether it’s necessary to use that tool depends upon the likelihood of such bias occurring.” Read, read, and read this post again.

Laika’s MedLibLog: #NotSoFunny – Ridiculing RCTs and EBM. http://laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/notsofunny-ridiculing-rcts-and-ebm/

Dr. Shock’s post about BioMedSearch focused on “free” as in free access to quality healthcare information. A related concept in his post were the barriers traditional search methods provide to discovery of quality health information, and if it is time for a change. While you are visiting his blog, you might want to take a look at another recent post on “The Hidden and Informal Curriculum During Medical Education,” which talks about overt and covert concepts and communications in medical education. While the specific example was about narratives in a secured online space, the concepts are perhaps even more important when thinking about healthcare communications in unsecured social media spaces.

Dr. Shock, A Neurostimulating Blog: BioMedical Search on BioMedSearch: http://www.shockmd.com/2009/11/28/biomedical-search-on-biomedsearch/

In an oblique connection, Novoseek, the innovative biomedical web search engine covering Medline, grants and online publications, offered a post on their new feature, allowing searchers to limit by publication type. While this doesn’t directly connect to free speech (rather the reverse) it does directly connect to quality of health information and control through peer review, both of which are implied contextual issues. Being able to use a health specific search tool automatically focuses results on a narrower and higher quality subset of the information available on the web. Being able to limit by publication type enables the searcher to slice the search even more finely, focusing on just the highest quality health information available.

Novoseek: Tip #1 to improve searches in novoseek – Filter results by publication type. http://blog.novoseek.com/index.php/resources/tip-1-to-improve-searches-in-novoseek-filter-results-by-publication-type.html/

PS. While you are taking a look at that blogpost, you might want to also take a look at an earlier post from Novoseek called The importance of context in text disambiguation. It is a kind of geeky, technical post, but the fundamental concept is central to how humans (as well as computers) identity quality when they see it.