In the first post of Open Source Way series, I’ve said that the Internet Community needs content creators, indexers, editors, coders, etc. I now want to mention two initiatives which target some of these needs and create solutions. The first one is Open Culture which is a medium for free online educational materials and the second one is a certification that enables creative sharing: Creative Commons.
This medium is like a giant index for online and free materials for educational and cultural purposes. They appreciate that the modern technology has provided an immense amount of cultural & educational material in audio and video formats. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to find them in a systematic way. “Our whole mission…” they say, “is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high-quality content whenever and wherever you want it”. They bring together online courses, movies, eBooks, apps and websites and create user-friendly lists of them and enable anyone to use them in an efficient way.
So let’s give some examples. There is a page in this Website which lists 1300 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. Let’s assume that I’m a social scientist and I’m curious about the Art History but don’t know where to start and what to look at. This page lists eight sources for educational material regarding directly with the Art History whose creators are Oxford University, Harvard University, etc. Let’s say I want to see Tarkovsky Films, like The Mirror or Stalker. They list free online accesses to those films and some related content like a review or a comparison essay. Furthermore, there are hundreds of e-Books for Kindles, smartphones and computers, beside hundreds of Free Audio Books. You can find Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, the Divine Comedy by Dante, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
Open Culture doesn’t produce these materials and none of them are unreachable without this website. This is only a curation which reduces the search time and report what is freely accessable. For example, I didn’t know that I can see a Tarkovsky movie in Full HD quality without violating the copyright. Open Culture did let me know it and I saw the Stalker. This is the reason why Open Culture matters.
Unlike the softwares or mediums that I mentioned, it is not always the best way to create an artwork in collaboration with the Internet society. Art is generally considered as a personal thing. You may want to keep the copyrights of your photography or sketches. However, it is still important to share your artworks to take feedback and to give inspiration. You may even want to give people a partial or a total permission to use your work. Creative Commons makes it possible.
“Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. We unlock the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity.”
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that “helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity”. There are several licenses under Creative Commons and all are together very handy. If you only want to let people to see your work, you can choose “All Rights Reserved”. You can also let people to download your work and use it under some conditions like “You cannot use this with commercial purposes” or “you cannot deriviate this work”. You can use the License Creator to find the most suitable CC License for your work.
I benefit the Creative Commons very often. Even for this blog post I’ve used an image by Mario Klingemann displayed in Flickr with a Creative Commons License. I wouldn’t be able to create such a visually appealing personal blog if I tried to create each and every image that I use in this website. Only thing that I got to do to use this image is to give appropriate credit (as seen below).
Featured Image: Mario Klingemann (CC BY-NC 2.0)