When creative works – images in particular – are shared and used online today, they frequently lose their connection with the original. Even only one share often makes it impossible to find out where an image came from, who created it, or what permissions someone has to use it. What license is it released under…and was it ever under a different license? Aside from erasing the information about who MADE a picture, often any changes or edits that have been added also don’t get proper credit. That means if someone uses a photo (with permission, of course) and makes a whole new artwork out of it, an artwork that you love, you don’t have any idea who they were!
Elog.io is a new set of tools designed to increase the meaning and value of any creative work, by making information about the work available for anyone who views it…regardless of where or when it has been shared online. Finding the creator and attribution of a work will be automatic and quick. Why does attribution matter? We can’t relate effectively to the digital works we see online without knowing who made them or where they came from…and we appreciate when other people provide us the same courtesy. Attribution is the currency of the information age; without it, we are disconnected not only from the creative works of others, but from the creative commons itself…a larger community of sharing, producing, and collaborating.
By November 2014, we will publish our first Elog.io tool: a browser extension that can identify images you encounter as you browse the web. For any image that’s part of our catalogue of works (primarily Wikimedia Commons), this extension will show you the information we have about it…even if it has been removed from its origin and published elsewhere without attribution. With this first extension, you’ll be able to start discovering where the images you see online actually come from. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite photographer, or an artist to collaborate with!
Eventually, we plan to have a much larger catalog of works, including submitted images and art. Our goal is to make attribution tools available and easy to use for anyone who wants to build something special with us, in the #attributionrevolution.
You can sign up to become beta testers for Elog.io here. You can also tweet to us at @elog_io. Join the #attributionrevolution…and you could get special goodies too! If you have questions about our services or specific attribution problems that need solving, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make you our top priority!