Public Domain, Free Photography and Images for Your Blog

Originally published on Lorelle on WordPress and used here with permission. This list is for my classes and workshops needing public domain, royalty free images for their projects.

Colorful brain scan of a mouse - US Science Departments, public domain photographs

Colorful brain scan of a mouse.

I’ve been collecting a variety of resources for free photographs to use on your website and blog. These images are, for the most part, free to use, but may have copyright and usage restrictions. Some may require registration, use only on non-commercial sites, and/or a link back to the source. Others may require more. Check thoroughly for the specific usage rights before using any of these images.

Just because you select a filter for public domain and royalty free images on a Google Image search does not mean these images are actually public domain and royalty free. Check. Ask first, they might say yes.

is a major resource for images, but many of these have restricted use. Not every image on Flickr or the web is free to use. Check thoroughly for usage rights, and if in doubt, get permission or don’t use the image. Check out Flickr’s Public Domain Photos’ Photostream for images specifically marked as public domain.

Autumn Leaves - Morgue Files - public domain free photographs.The images featured range from people, places, wildlife, and space, as well as textures, patterns, and artistic graphic images. These free photos sites listed may have nude or violent images, though I did my best to exclude image sites which specialize in those.

One of the best, kept up-to-date lists for images and graphics in the public domain for free use is Wikipedia:Public domain image resources. I usually start my search from their list, which includes government collections and resources, special subject-based collections, and more.

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The Basic Structure of a Blog Post

There are many ways to present a post or article on a web page. This tutorial will cover the basic formatting, styles, and structure.

The structure of an article or content on a web page is the same for any web publishing platform. This article focuses specifically on WordPress but the principles apply whether you are on Blogger, Google+, LinkedIn, Drupla, Joomla, Facebook, or a forum.

If an article is long, and this is, and divided up into separate sections, a table of contents consisting of jump links that jump down to the section the reader wishes to get to first, or second, or whatever their reading preference might be.

The table of contents maybe a list within the article or featured in a box aligned to the right or left of the content area with text flowing around it, best left to those with some HTML and CSS skills.

Article Table of Contents

WordPress Tip: Every WordPress Theme handles the basic elements in a post differently, making the headings stand out in a variety of ways, adding borders around images or not, adding design elements to a blockquote…the list is long.

I recommend that you test your own WordPress Theme by writing a test post following the examples in this article, or you may use the Sandbox Post for Testing WordPress Themes. It is a text file with HTML code representative of all the HTML tags found in a blog post.

Formatting the Post in WordPress

Before we begin, I will be making references to the formatting toolbar found on the post and Page Edit Screens. It is blow the post title area and directly above the content textarea where you will write your post.

The WordPress Visual Editor Toolbar featuring the Kitchen Sink Button which expands to feature a second row.

By default, you see only one line of buttons in the Visual Editor. The last button on the row is called the Kitchen Sink or Toolbar Toggle. If you click it, a second row will drop down. Continue reading

Copyright: How to Quote and Cite Sources

Reprinted and expanded upon with author’s permission from How to Blog Part 11: Copyright and Citations on Blog Your Passion.

There are two issues to cover as part of this ongoing How to Blog series: Copyright and Citation.

Copyright

In “What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content,” I wrote:

Having been the target of copyright thieves, and working with writers, authors, and photographers on copyright protection and laws for over 25 years, I thought I’d talk a little about what to do when someone steals your content.

First, you noticed that I didn’t say “if” someone steals your content. That was on purpose. With the glut of information on the Internet, it’s now a matter of “when” not “if”.

The first step in learning about what you can do when someone steals your content is to know that it will happen, so the more prepared and informed you are, the better your chances of prevention and having a plan in place when they steal.

There are many reasons people take and use content that isn’t their own. The two most common reasons are “I didn’t know any better” and laziness.

The “didn’t know any better” excuse doesn’t work with me. If you went to school in the last few hundred years, you would have learned from elementary school on that copying someone else’s work is not just bad, it can get you punished by being kicked out of school, lose your degree, or even your job.

The Internet is no different than the real world.

Learn how to link and quote from published material to stay safe and on the right side of International Copyright Laws.
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Creating a Blogging, Social Media, and Editorial Calendar and Schedule

Nothing to blog about on picture of desert sandsSportsBusiness Journal has one. So does eSchool Media Marketing, GeneaBloggers Genealogy Blog, SheKnows Magazines, and REALTOR® Magazine. Not only do they have one, they redo it every year. What could these very diverse companies have in common? An editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar is critical for the online publisher and web worker today. In traditional media, an editorial calendar was the year planned out in advance on editorial topics, articles, themes, article series, and events. Today, the editorial calendar goes even further covering social media, marketing, advertising, and virtual and direct social interaction. Whether for the individual blogger or a company, an editorial calendar sets goals and deadlines to keep you on track.
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2011 Prove It Campaign: Prove Yourself on Your Blog

In January 2012, I started a year long campaign on called Prove It!

I recently learned the true definition of the word “guru.” It means to lift someone up through knowledge and wisdom. It means to teach, to impart wisdom, “to dispel the darkness of ignorance” so that those who go after you will be better for it.

Too often the label is used with arrogance. It doesn’t mean to lord over others as an expert. A true guru probably wouldn’t call themselves a guru. Others would honor them with the title.

After years of being called a guru in WordPress, blogging, and multimedia web publishing and being embarrassed by it, I realized there was more to being a guru than a line on a promotional ad. It’s time to reconsider such self-proclamations without anything to show for it. It’s time to call myself on the carpet to prove my worth, and for others to step up to the plate and prove it themselves.

Here is the article series so far which focuses on proving your personal expertise and experience to back up what you blog about. I just published the last article which includes research on what elements of a website design and content inspire trust in their readers.

Future articles will focus on specific design and content elements with recommendations on WordPress Theme and Plugins to help “prove it” on WordPress sites. I’ll be writing about how to prove it through accuracy in writing, publishing, and interaction with readers, and how to measure the proof of your success through analytics and feedback. I’ll add more articles to this post as the series continues throughout the year.

Email Obfuscation Tools and Scripts

There are a variety of ways to protect and hide emails and other information from email harvesters or just to protect your privacy through obfuscation, a technique on the web that allows displaying of email and content within web browsers so browsers can understand them, but masks them from web crawlers and bots.

A typical email link would be:

<a href="mailto:fredsmith@gmail.com" title="Email Fred">email</a>

An obfuscated email address link would look like this:

<a href="mailto:&amp;#102;&amp;#114;&amp;#101;&amp;#100;&amp;#115;&amp;#109;&amp;#105;&amp;#116;&amp;#104;&amp;#064;&amp;#103;&amp;#109;&amp;#097;&amp;#105;&amp;#108;&amp;#046;&amp;#099;&amp;#111;&amp;#109;" title="Email Fred">email</a>

Free Online Tools to Obfuscate Email Addresses

Instead of doing this manually using HTML Character Entities, there are a variety of free online tools to obfuscate email addresses. The output can be set to be in HTML characters or use JavaScript or other code methods. NOTE: WordPress.com blogs are restricted to only HTML Character Entities.

There are a variety of WordPress Plugins that will handle the job for you automatically, too. Check the WordPress Plugin Directory for the latest versions and options.

For more information on obfuscation, see:

Publishing Responsibilities: I’m Responsible for What I Say

I am responsible for what I say. I am not responsible for what you understand.

This is going around the web and it’s a powerful statement:

I am responsible for what I say.
I am not responsible for what you understand.

It’s a simplified version of:

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
Robert McCloskey

Yet, it goes much further.

How does this relate to social media and web publishing?

Creating a Website Feed For a Feedless Site

Feed iconThere will be times when you will want to create a feed to add to your feed reader from a site that doesn’t have a feed so you can monitor the site for changes, updated, or new content. Here are some free, online feed creation services to try. Not all create feeds from sites without feeds equally, so experiment with these to find the right one.

In general, you will want to provide the “front” page or the page with the most active content you wish to follow. For example, if you wish to only follow the WordPress information from a specific site and not the rest of their content, then you would create a custom feed for their WordPress category, subdomain, or search results.

These are not meant to replace the feeds provided by websites but to use them on sites without feeds.

Plagiarism, Copyright, and Fair Use

copyright symbolRule Number One: Ask first, they might say yes.

If it is on the web, it isn’t free.

If it is on the web, it could be free.

Everything on the web was created by someone. It took hard work. It took time, sometimes a lot of time. Hours, days, weeks, months, possibly years.

Everything on the web is copyrighted and someone owns that copyright. It is up to them to decide what those rights are.

They might want to share what they’ve created with the world but only on their space.

They might want to share it for free for use by others and allow it to be used by others as long as credit in the form of links stays with it.

They might want to share only a small bit with a link as credit for use by others. They should tell you how much they will allow to be shared before it is considered plagiarism and copyright infringement. This is called Fair Use. If in doubt, use no more than 10% or 400 words.

They might want to give it away and not care if it is linked, credited, or changed.

It is up to the copyright holder to set the terms of the sharing, copying, and usage, but understand they don’t have to. Always look for their copyright policy, usage license, or Creative Commons license and permissions to verify the rights of the copyright holder. Anything published and shared on the web is owned and controlled with all rights and usages to the copyright holder. Treat it fairly within the rules of Copyright Fair Use.

This applies to written content, pictures, graphics, images, designs, web art, web templates, web designs, video, animation, photographs, audio, podcasts, music, illustrations, artwork, downloadable files, and any other content on the web. It’s all copyright protected. Continue reading