Illustrating your Blog

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This morning went really fast. Hunt Willard and Janet gave very interesting talks on science communication from two different persepectives. Janet’s was obviously geared towards to blogging. Hopefully she will posted about it in the future.

I am now in the session on illustrating posts with Ros Reid leading and discussing “Fair Use” and when we can use pictures from other people and when to ask for permission.

Places to go:

Astronomy Picture of the Day

HHMI – Howard Hughes Medical Institute

University News Archives – eg Cornell

American Scientist

Government websites: NIH, FDA, USDA etc.

But ask permission unless it says you can use the pictures without permission. You can’t always use the picture and link back to the original source without permission.There needs to be open source site showing the pictures. Google Image search is not the best search engine to find images relevant to the topic. You also need the metadata – what is about the picture about, who took the picture, who owns the rights to the image, how was it taken etc.

Some sites recommended as image sources were, but you might have to be pay:




The discussion seems to be mostly about copyright and fair use. Rather than how to use pictures.

5 thoughts on “Illustrating your Blog

  1. This is because people are obsessed with copyright, since folk can and do get sued at an alarming rate. You want to really get in with a bunch of people into copyright, go to an archives conference. Fun times, I tell you! LOL

  2. I think the fact that the session was led by a magazine editor, rather than a blogger, had a lot to do with that. Although she was trying to suggest that in most cases blogs are fair use, she did have an interest in “protecting” her content.

    For the most part bloggers can just post an image, clip, or whatever, and if someone asks them to take it down, they can just take it down. It’s not like National Geographic printing 9 million magazines and then getting sued for copyright violation.

  3. Said magazine editor here, just to second Dave’s point. Yes yes yes: Post pictures! In my opinion, the fair use defense covers most responsible uses in blogs.

    Going into the session, I believed that many bloggers are confused by copyright and use pictures and videos less than they ought to. Wow: A copyright discussion is sort of a steam locomotive that you can’t stop once it starts chugging.

    Maybe we can wiki our way toward an open-sharing model for science pictures.

  4. Bora

    Thanks for the very useful link and the great conference!


    I found the copyright discussion interesting, it just wasn’t what I was hoping to get out of that session.

    I like the wiki idea as I would be very interested in seeing how other bloggers use pictures. Especially ones that people like and find informative. It would be also great to get feedback on how I use pictures, when I do.

    My biggest problem with pictures is that I have particular images in mind that I want to use but don’t have the time to make them. See my posting on starch for how I like to use pictures in my science blogging.

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