Tag Archives: creative commons

How to Hack eBooks in the Public Domain

As part of the Mozilla Teach the Web Project I created a Popcorn project about hacking public domain ebooks.  From that I decided to try using Haiku Deck to create a more visually compelling presentation with more information about how to actually do the hacking.  This is the result.

Presentation on How to Hack eBooks in the Public Domain

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

The Popcorn project, Hacking Public Domain eBooks for Use in the Classroom, has recently been revised.  The original version is described in this blog post.


Finding Images to Share, Re-use and Mix


CC flickr photo by Olibac


CC BY-NC-ND flickr photo by Urban Woodswalker


CC BY-NC SA flickr photo by ramseymohsen

There are many places on the web where you can find images that have been licensed in such a way that you can use, share and/or modify them without requesting permission.  Most of these images are made available under Creative Commons licenses.  Ideally when you use an image licensed under Creative Commons you should attribute (in the way specified by the creator), indicate the license type and provide a link to the work.  If you want more details, this wikihow page goes into greater depth.

Here are a few ways that you can search for Creative Commons (CC) images on a few popular web sites.


To search Flickr for CC images, use the advanced search option.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the type of Creative Commons images that you want to find.

Flickr Creative Commons SearchIf you want content you can modify or mash-up or use commercially, select the appropriate sub-options, otherwise just go with “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”.  Any search you do from this point in your browser session will give you CC images.  You should see the following at the top of your search results:

Showing Creative Commons-licensed content

Google Images

To search Google for Creative Commons licensed images, you will need to use the Advanced Image Search page.  Scroll down to the bottom where you will see the following:


Click on the drop-down arrow and select the type of images you would like.  You have the following options:

  • not filtered by license
  • free to use or share
  • free to use or share, even commercially
  • free to use, share or modify
  • free to use, share or modify, even commercially

Wikipedia Media Commons

Wikipedia Media Commons is a database of 16,370,108 (as of today) freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.  In addition to images it also contains sound and video files.  You can browse the Commons for featured photos, or search by keyword.  Once you have found an image that you like, click on the thumbnail or title of the image to get to the page that provides you with detailed information about how you can use the image.  Each image will have a Permission (using this file) section.  This will tell you re-use options.  Here are a couple of examples:

I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.Allowing Others to Use your Images

In the spirit of openness you might want to allow others to use your images. There are many ways to do this.  Here are just a couple.

Wikipedia Media Commons

The Wikipedia Media Commons is looking for people to contribute images.  They are not just looking for photographs, they are also looking for people to contribute diagrams and to help with the upkeep of the site. More information can be found on the main Wikipedia Media Commons Page.


Dog Sled Race at Kortright

My photo recently licensed as Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

In Flickr you can set the license on your photos to allow re-use.  By default Flickr sets the most restrictive license on your photos (all rights reserved), but you can change this default in your settings, in the privacy and permissions tab, under defaults for new uploads.  If you change this default you need to be sure that everything you upload is your work.

If you prefer, you can change permissions on individual photos in Flickr.  When viewing the image, you will see an owner settings box as follows:

Flickr Owner Settings

Click on the edit beside All Rights Reserved to change the permissions on the photo.

Other Places to Find Images

There are lots of other resources that you can find re-usable media files.  Let me know if you have a favourite.

Rhizomatic Learning, MOOCs, Libraries and Open Access

Of the many interesting points that were made today in Dave Cormier’s Rhizomatic Learning webinar, one particularly resonated with me.  With MOOCs we need to be very much aware of content ownership. As MOOC participants come from all around the globe, all resources used within the MOOC need to be freely available.  Any resource that resides in a publisher’s walled garden is not going to be of much import in this environment.  MOOCs will most likely be a great boost to the use of open access resources (journals, data, etc.) and a lifeline to many faltering “institutional repositories” (basically digital collections of an institution’s intellectual output that is freely available on the web).  Many universities have these digital collections which can be searched by going directly to the universities’ websites or via Google Scholar which indexes some of them. Here are a few Canadian ones:

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.