Week Three: Digital Literacy

September 15, 2013

Washington Monument Dusk

Iliff, D. (2006). Washington Monument Dusk. [Photograph] Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Washington_Monument_Dusk_Jan_2006.jpg

For the digital literacy assignment, I decided search for an image of a famous building in Washington DC because I had a hunch that it would be easy to find a picture of this nature. I know it can be difficult to find images that are rare. So many people take pictures of the building in Washington DC everyday that I knew it would be easy to find versus a picture of a rare bird in South America that was just discovered yesterday. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the more images that are available in the world for a particular subject the more likely you will be to find the image freely available for usage.


I began by searching in Google Images using the Advanced Search option. There I choose to limit by usage rights. I used free to use or share because I knew I wouldn’t be manipulating the image in any way or using it for commercial purposes. I used the search statement: Washington DC buildings. The first image to pop up was an image of the Washington Monument. It is published on a Wikipedia page that made it easy to access the information about the copyright agreement. However, I was a bit confused about the copyright information. The website mentioned that it was released by the United States Navy but it was taken by an Air Force airmen. Therefore I decided to scroll down to another photo on the page of the Washington Monument to use as my photo.


The photo I choose was a picture of the Washington Monument by itself. As I scrolled down on the picture’s information page it stated the creator’s name, David Iliff, and the license number CC-BY-SA 3.0. It is licensed under the Creative Commons for attribution and share alike. So I could potentially use this image as long as I give credit to the creator that I will do at the bottom of this post.


I think it’s important to teach students that we must give credit where credit is due for the usage of someone else’s information. Especially in a world where information is right at our fingertips it’s important that we show that someone else created the work because we would want the same for our own work.


I worked for a while as a library graduate assistant where I taught library literacy and information literacy skills. In doing my job, I had to teach students that whenever you take information from a site you must give credit to the author. I strongly believe in this principle because it is important as intellectuals to evaluate other people’s opinions, beliefs, and works but we must still come to our own conclusions. If we were to just use everything that someone else wrote, we wouldn’t necessarily understand the content in depth.


So in order to promote a nurturing environment where people learn from others and build off of materials we must attribute the knowledge that we learned from other people’s work to them. This builds a community of learning instead of a community where people steal each other’s ideas. I think of it as stealing someone’s money, essentially ideas could be worth money one day and you’re taking the person’s opportunity to gain prestige for their ideas. So you should always attribute information to its creator. The creator could gain notoriety if your work becomes popular and both of you win. We should, in a global society, build off of each other’s knowledge as long as we share the fact that we didn’t just come up with it all on our own but rather in collaboration with other researchers or thinkers.


Iliff, D. (2006). Washington Monument Dusk. [Photograph] Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Washington_Monument_Dusk_Jan_2006.jpg

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One Response

  1. patmcguireSeptember 17, 2013 @ 12:41 am

    You raise an interesting point about the more common an image or the more famous an item or building, it is likely that you will easily be able to find an image that can be used under fair use. I think it would be a good exercise to task children to find an image of a famous structure that can be used and then have them find a picture of a rare item that can be used as a valid source.

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