Yikes, there he goes again blogging about attribution.

Yeah. It is a frequent topic here. Sometime a little around a year ago (my searching through my backlog of posts pins it to early December 2014), I started added a photo credit to the bottom of my blog posts. I had noticed that with the featured images used in my blog theme, there was no place to provide an attribution as I typically do as a caption.

I started simple, at the bottom I put an <ht /> followed by a simple attribution, usually taken from my flickr cc attribution helper (if the image was from there), e..g. from a post on December 20, 2014 “Randomly() Yours”:


I used a similar format if the image was from Pixabay, from December 16, 2014 She… and My Path in Technology:

pixabay attr

And this is crazy– I started attributing even if the photo was mine. Why would I do that? By law and license I do not have to attribute my own photo. I usually give myself permission to reuse my own photos. But I am not attributing because I am trying to follow laws or licenses, I am following a higher plane of expressing gratitude via attribution, or just to demonstrate to others that it’s a Good Idea to Follow (IMHO). This is from December 23, 2014– Tap Tap Tap.. Is This Thing on? 2014?:


Since the format was pretty consistent, I thought a bit about doing some theme hacking and add a custom field to my posts, and some template code to automatically display it at the bottom of the post.

Maybe I did not try hard enough, I could not get my theme to do this. And besides, if it was outside my post, it would not appear in my RSS feeds (not without more hacking).

But then I would end up doing remixes of images, or coming across some really whacky ones, and plenty where it was just not clear what the rights were. Or, to be frank, I think the whole “can I use it or not” is stupid when I am not selling anything, not making anything but fun, not stealing anything, just remixing into something new.

In August 2015, I made a remix of a book cover to have some fun with Pat Lockley, converting the cover from Bowling Alone into something obviously different for Tweeting Alone (its pretty solid Photoshop work, you should check it out). My photo credit statements get a bit more sarcastic.


What are the rights with adding a laptop to a still frame from a video publicly viewable on Youtube? I made that for a post about Ole Hatchet Jack (a minor character from the movie Jeremiah Johnson)


I do my image searching with settings for images licensed for re-use, but plenty of times The Google returns stuff from blogs that not only lack any kind of attribution, quite often you can find they lifted it from elsewhere. Just because Google says it is licensed… Well, I get tired if digging, so I can resign to saying here’s where it’s from:


I start adding my own jokes. SO far, no one has ever even responded to them. Being at the end of long posts might be a factor.


It does get messy with mashups, eh? Who should sue me, Gardner Campbell or Eli Wallach for overlapping them?


Well, I got tired of sifting through my posts. I have quite a few more where my attribution is more question or rant.

And recently it dawned on me that “attribution” or “credit” is more associated with what one might say is called for by legal rule or license print. What I have started doing is not only the attribution, but a bit of story of how I even got to the image.

A recent post used an image that I put together from two separate open licensed Wikimedia commons images (honestly it was because one was oriented more vertical…) So it’s attribution + story for an image of an orangoutang named Morphy and a chicken on a skateboard (still the funniest named image ever)


Or for a post about ribbons and badges and stuff…


So this is my new approach. It turns my attribution into little blog posts. And heck, most people will not even bother giving credit for media they use in their blogs, do I really think anyone will actually narrate their process?

I don;’t know. Nor care.

This is what I am choosing to do.

Because there can be more to attribution than rote following a bunch of rules and procedures.

Top / Featured Image : Transformation of the stress tensor in three dimensions a creative commons licensed image from Wikimedia Commons. At one time in my schooling I might have understood the force diagram.

Found my searching Google Images (with filter licensed for use) on “Transformation”, after failing to find the kind of image that spoke to be searching on “evolution”, and maybe just “story”. I never know what exactly to do with SVG images so I grabbed a screenshot.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Hi Alan,
    I love the continual care you are giving this. Attribution is the flip side of open. Recently I’ve been using Flickr to find pictures with ‘No known copyright restrictions’ for most posts featured image and noting that at the bottom of the post. Not as interesting as a story but a start.
    Looks like there are plugins for adding featured images to RSS, but I might give this a go:

  2. I love your work on attribution. I try and often include descriptions in my Flickr uploads, but I do not bring these across to my posts.
    Just wondering whether you use any plugins etc to add such content to your posts? For example, a lot of people include an ‘Originally posted …’ I have been wondering about this. Is it a plugin?
    Probably should go a scour the back end of WordPress to find out myself …

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