Creative commons in U.S. Government

I am a big advocate of creative commons. I think it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. One arena I have been watching the growing use of Creative Commons licenses is in the U.S. Government. I am particularly interested in the issue of over licensing. That is, my understanding is that the Federal government can not be a copyright holder unless someone else created the work and then gave the work to the US Government, and that items (creative works and intellectual property) created by the government can not be copyrighted, such content is by law supposed to be in the public domain. Therefore, when a government (in this case the U.S. Government) produces content and licenses the content under creative commons, doesn't that mean that they must copyright the material and then release the material under license? The following website talks about data - government data, and how that is legally supposed to be open. https://theunitedstates.io/licensing/. (And Ben Balter gives some really clear suggestions here: http://ben.balter.com/2014/10/08/open-source-licensing-for-government-attorneys/.) There are certain rights reserved, like the use of logos. In short I am a bit confused then by moves in the Department of Labor and the Department of Education where the CC-BY license is adapted:

Is this just saying that if I create something with money from the Federal Government then that work needs to also be CC-BY?

The Creative Commons wiki currently says about the US Government:

Federal

Works by the US federal government are automatically part of the public domain in the US as stipulated by http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#105
Third-party content (such as the text of speeches by the first lady) on the White House web site are licensed with CC BY 3.0 US by default.
President-Elect Transition Team, Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. CC BY 3.0 Unported. (Not an official federal government site, but an election team site, hence not required to be public domain.)
The U.S. Department of Education has made OER an invitational priority in their Ready to Learn (PDF) and Ready to Teach (PDF) grants.
The U.S. Department of Education has included open educational resources in their Notice of Proposed Priorities for discretionary grant funding. Essentially, if the priorities are adopted, it could mean that grant seekers who include open educational resources as a component of an application for funding from the Department of Education could receive priority.
The U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Education commit $2 billion to community colleges and career training; CC BY required for grant outputs.
The U.S. Department of Labor Career Pathways Innovation Fund Grants Program; CC BY required for grant outputs.
U.S. Open Data Action plan is under CC0 + some federal datasets: report (pdf); blog post

State

New York State Senate, Senate Content, CC-BY-NC-ND with CC+ allowing non-political fundraising use of content.
State of Virginia, legislation that indicates a preference for state-funded materials to be released with a CC (or equivalent open) license.
Washington State open policy and requirement of CC BY
New Hampshire adopts Open Source and Open Data requirements (policy friendly to CC use, but not a specific CC tool adoption)
OER K-12 bill passed in WA state. The focus of the bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; in addition, any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license” (CC BY)
The city of Washington, D.C. has made available an unofficial copy of the DC Code under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.

So, as a business person looking at the limitations of CC-BY and the DMCA. If I were a grant recipient from the department of labor, and I wanted to profit from the output of the grant, I could make all the output CC-By and then release that content via an app that I sell. Make the app with funds not from the grant and make the content only available via the app. Hacking the app would constitute Copyright infringement and would be enforceable via the DMCA.

Creative Commons does not solve the open access and permanent access guarantee problems.

CNC Laser

Continuing on my thoughts about woodworking, I was looking at laser engraved wood and CNC machines. Here are a couple of DIY videos from YouTube.

There is a company here in Eugene which specializes in this.

Here is a DIY project page: http://davidegironi.blogspot.it/2014/07/38mm-x-38mm-laser-engraver-build-using.html
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/PCB-milling-machine-CNC-2020B-DIY-cnc-wood-carving-machine-mini-engraving-machine-3050114A/32428314987.html

It also seems that andrio or bananna pi are also used. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Pi

Notes on using there WordPress for iOS app

Five short things:

  1. In landscape view on iPhone 5s it is hard to type. This is because the viewable area for typing is so small. Voice to text recognition is easier. But then editing mistakes becomes a pain. 
  2. It is really hard to get the loupe tool in the text mode. So it’s hard to move the cursor.
  3. When switching between horizontal and vertical modes the cursor always goes to the top of the article instead of staying where the author was editing at in the document. This is extremely annoying.
  4. Sometimes when I press the return button I get multiple returns between words it’s as if the WordPress app inserts extra non-visible characters which create new lines.
  5. There is no way to share a post with someone. There does not seem to be a button inside the interface of the app to text the link to someone or to post to Facebook or tweet a link or email link.

Real Data, Live Data, Not just Ethnologue maps

There have been several interesting projects which have created language use visualizations over the last few years. The Ethnologue project produces a particular kind of visualization. In the past I have talked about the need to socialize and make the data which the Ethnologue apps are based on more accurate to WGS 84. I talk about that need in two places, on insite here: Geographical Data and on my non-insite blog: https://hugh.thejourneyler.org/2012/some-current-challenges-in-using-gis-information-in-the-sil-international-corporate-knowledge-system/

There are several challenges with the basic assumptions put forward with the current Ethnologue visualizations. 

  1. they project a language homogeny which is not necessarily accurate to real life.
  2. they project a geographical display which is not indicative of real language use. That is language use may actually be in digital mediums which can not be heard at certain locations. 
  3. Ethnologue maps make no overt claims about digital communications devices and their use by minority language speakers, however, my feeling in general is that SIL (especially in our training programs) does not assume a digital device using minority language user.

One of the tools which SIL could use to inform its business intelligence is the language of use in digital social mediums. For instance Wikipedia allows any ISO 639-3 language community to form their own wikipedia. This means that all of the IP edits are recorded and public. This also means that that would give us a language use location based on IP addresses. This can then be super imposed on additional data collected from Geo-enabled tweets. With such information, prior to a survey the pre survey data available about language use (in certain contexts) just got more interesting. – if of course survey is about questions of language use. 

Some people have taken to mapping Wikipedia edits. Such a map shows that there are a lot of people in a lot of places, speakers of minority languages included, who are able to edit content centrally hosted like that which is found on wikipedia. Here is a map created from the English language wikipedia, which is available from http://www.dailydot.com/society/wikipedia-conflict-map-flame-wars/.

As I state previously, the homogeneity of language use within a given geographical region is difficult to map. There are questions of speaker population density, and questions of social environments.  While the Ethnologue maps are very detailed in terms of their global scope one of the challenges for this kind of visualization is expressing diversity. Below is a map of language diversity based on tweets in New York City. The power of using tweets to measure the linguistic diversity of a region is that tweets are usually connected between two or more people and reveals the social connection between those people. This is a powerful bit of information. SIL could leverage this data in several ways, one way would be to make this data available to its scripture use partners. Language may not always be a barrier to understanding the gospel but I have yet to see it not be an inroad to a relationships in and through which the gospel can not be shown or presented.

Language Diversity as demonstrated on twitter

Image from http://ny.spatial.ly/

If our conceptualization about language and its geographical distribution is at all reflected in the way that we look at Ethonlogue maps then we can often miss the wide distribution that many language communities have. For instance this language map show the use of Irish as twitter users are using it. Notice that the language is not bound to Ireland.

Irish language Twitter conversations, Kevin Scannell (CC-BY-SA) http://indigenoustweets.blogspot.com/2013/12/mapping-celtic-twittersphere.html

Something fantastic with Webonary data

The UK data explorer has a very interesting set up using a powerful (free and open) visualization software tool called D3.js The tool allows you to type in a word and see how it is spelled in a variety of languages. It uses Google Translate Check it out here: http://ukdataexplorer.com/european-translator/?word=man

WordPress is equally capable to serve up Webonary data if it is configured correctly.

Man Across Europe

Some other thoughts on linguistic cartography and the display of language vitality.

Back in 2011 Lars Huttar and I played around with a heat mapping JavaScript tool called gheat. The idea was to plot the heavily populated towns with a higher gradient than lower populated towns based on speaker population densities I had from Mexican statistics data. The idea was to incorporate two important aspects of analysis, remoteness and vitality. I talk about remoteness on my blog here: https://hugh.thejourneyler.org/2012/remoteness-index/, and I talk about my the visualization here: https://hugh.thejourneyler.org/2011/language-maps-like-heat-maps/. The data may not be perfect, but it was a start. The paper has not gone anywhere since that time. I still have the draft paper, and would like to pursue this with a co-author. If there is someone else who might be interested please comment, I can give more details and the Paterson & Hutter paper draft.

If you just like looking at language maps you might enjoy this post: https://hugh.thejourneyler.org/2012/types-of-linguistic-maps-the-mapping-of-linguistic-features/

One final thought

Here is an interesting set of maps for language use. While the Enthologue maps first language use, second language remains a mystery. These efforts are trying to add visualizations to the second most popularly spoken language for a geographical region.

A second way to look at the earth is what are the places? This as been a recent hot topic in the Language Documentation circles. However, on the single language level there may or may not be a lot of interesting information to a lot of people. However, to look at the earth by which languages are taking about certain places is interesting. One point of large interaction for this conversation is wikipedia.

Which license and why?

It occurs to me that every time a new license is produced it is done as a response to a social context. That is, society has delivered a certain set of norms or reactions to existing ownership and licensing practices. It also occurs to me that with each new license created that there is an increased availability of licensing options to potential license users. Inherently this means that any given license should be expected to be used less with the release of a new licenses. I wonder if there is a way to plot the use of licenses, and the growth rate of new licenses.

Images in the Free Culture Movement

I have been really encouraged by the availability of images which have been released under Creative Commons licenses.

While there are a lot of icon sets out there, here are some of my "go to" places.

  • The first place I usually go for free icons isthenounproject.com. There is a growing community behind the endeavor and their management operations are being taken seriously.
  • A second place which I have found helpful is: mapicons.nicolasmollet.com.
  • I have also found these images which are SVG for maps: http://map-icons.com/

As an archivist, I wonder where will these icons go if they are just privately hosted? - Is there an archive for these things?