3.4 Attributing a resource
In Section 3.2 you searched for openly licensed materials that you might want to incorporate or use in your everyday practice. You also identified the resource’s licence and what this means for how you can reuse the resource. The next stage is to look at how to attribute the resource when you are reusing it within your own context. This is good practice for two reasons: not only to ensure that you have appropriately accredited the authorship and licence of the original material, but also so that people using or reviewing the resource you have created are able to reuse the material in their own context.
A quick and easy way to remember what information you need to include when reusing resources is by remembering an acronym: TASL. This stands for. TASL tells you what you need to include to ensure that you are appropriately acknowledging the source of the OER that you are using.
Let’s illustrate this with an example. If you follow this link to Flickr you can find the above picture of a cake, which was found using a Google search and filtering images for ‘labeled for reuse’ (see Section 3.2 for more on how to do this), and has been uploaded to Flickr by its creator. How will we correctly license this resource using TASL?
First, what is the resource’s title? In this instance it is labeled as ‘Pink rose birthday cake.’ So that others can see the origin of the resource we also need to provide the URL (https://www.flickr.com/ photos/ rexness/ 5920122416/ in/ gallery-123856341) of the page on Flickr where the image is hosted.
Who created the resource? The author or creator of the cake photo is Rexness. We can view Rexness’s Flickr profile by clicking on his name and clicking on the dropdown menu labeled ‘More’ on the right-hand side of the page and choosing ‘Profile’. This reveals further information about Rexness and we will use this URL as part of our attribution.
What is the source of the resource? In this instance the source of the image is the same as the URL we are using for the resource’s title.
What licence does the image have? To see an image’s licence information on Flickr, click on the ‘Some rights reserved’ text below the date the image was created. This reveals that the image ‘Pink rose birthday cake’ has been licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 by Rexness. We are also redirected to Creative Commons licence information automatically. This is the URL we need to include so that others can find out the correct licence information.
So what does the final attribution look like?
For further advice on attribution, consult the Creative Commons Wiki guidelines on best practice for attribution and Glasgow Caledonian University's guide to Reusing Content for more advice and examples.
When you decide to use an open resource that someone has provided, it is also good practice, where possible, to let the creator of the resource know how you have reused it (for example via the comments section on the relevant webpage etc.). In instances where the author has listed the licence but not explicitly linked to the relevant licence deed, you should provide an explicit link to the licence when reusing.
One issue for creators of OER is how to measure the impact of the resources they openly license: once ‘in the wild’ or freely available, it is extremely difficult to track how and in what contexts they are reused. You can read more about tracking the impact of resources in Section 4.6.
Use the guidelines above and previous sections’ suggestions to help with the following activity.
In Section 3.2 you looked at finding resources you might want to incorporate into your own practice and considered whether the way they were licensed was most appropriate for your own context. Use the acronym TASL to help attribute the resource that you found earlier, or choose a different one if you’d prefer. Write down the attribution and licence information in your reflective log.