Archivos de diario de octubre 2022

08 de octubre de 2022

Commons Licenses, iNaturalist, and the Wikipedia world

I edit and sometimes write from scratch Wikipedia articles, usually focusing on those in my favorite genus, Symphyotrichum. iNaturalist often imports Wikipedia articles for the About tab of a taxon page. I find it quite helpful to be able to see a summary of a species rather than having to go to a more formal definition, such as from a flora.

I began editing Wikipedia Symphyotrichum articles in 2020 when I wanted to learn more about species I was finding during my excursions (in my own yard). My favorites were those in the Asteraceae family, and I found the iNaturalist About sections for some of the plants I was seeking wanting. iNaturalist imports from Wikipedia articles. I found them wanting as well. The point of Wikipedia is education. Anybody can edit Wikipedia, with or without an account. Wikipedia has a philosophy of "BE BOLD". Don't wait for someone else to add that fact or description, do it yourself! You can't break Wikipedia. Make sure to use a reliable source and to cite that source (or sources) in the prose you write. And keep in mind, you or someone else can and will come along and improve what you have started to help to fulfill the educational purpose. Again, you can't break Wikipedia!

Wikipedia articles often begin as stubs. Stub class articles for the Symphyotrichum genus are many and include Symphyotrichum pygmaeum and Symphyotrichum ciliatum. The next level of articles are those classified as Start. Following that are C, B, A, Good Article (GA), and Featured Article (FA). The equivalent of FA for a list article is Featured List (FL). An example of a C class article is Symphyotrichum potosinum, a species native to Mexico and the U.S. state of Arizona. There are policies and guidelines, people who offer to help or mentor, places to ask questions, and review processes for GA, FA, and FL classifications.

The current best articles on Wikipedia for this genus are Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster, a Good Article), Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (calico aster, a Featured Article), and List of Symphyotrichum species (a Featured List).

To make a good or even excellent article on a genus or species, photos showing the various morphological features of a plant are necessary. Within an article, the prose needs to explain the morphology, and images should not be decorative but instead should enhance the prose. In order to be able to use a photo or image in a Wikipedia article, it must have an appropriate license for sharing. I have described Creative Commons licenses, followed by Wikimedia Commons (the "media holding" place for Wikipedia) licensing requirements, and finally how to change licenses of iNat observations and photos.

Creative Commons licenses were created 20 years ago to provide for a consistent and computer-readable way for people to share their work electronically or non-electronically with or without certain restrictions. The usual copyright of any work is that nobody can use or share a work that they did not create without express written permission from the owner of the license (generally the creator of the work, the publisher of a book, etc.). For example, unless otherwise noted, a book is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any fashion. If the book has a Creative Commons license, it means the creator of the work is allowing it to be shared under either no restrictions, called a CC0 license (basically the equivalent of a work that is in the public domain), or with limited restrictions.

The four options for these limited restrictions using a Creative Commons license are

  1. Noncommercial
  2. No derivatives (no changes, including cropping, adding words to an image, combining it with other images or text into another image, etc.)
  3. Attribution (to the author/creator)
  4. Share alike (use it with the same license the creator gave it)

These are given in shortcut form as NC, ND, BY, and SA, respectively. They can be combined in any fashion. There are also standard symbols in non-word form that represent these licenses. If you want to get into a bit more of the details of Creative Commons licenses, you can go to this link:

iNaturalist allows all licenses that I've mentioned, including full copyright, and likely some others that I haven't mentioned. The default (automatic) license for our iNat observations and the images we attach to the observations is set by iNat to be CC-BY-NC, with the "CC" meaning Creative Commons, "BY" meaning attribution, and "NC" meaning noncommercial usage only.

Wikimedia Commons accepted licenses Wikimedia Commons ( is the place provided by the Wikimedia Foundation to store media, such as images, videos, and sound files, which in general are of value to education of the public. The images are especially valuable for Wikipedia articles. From the Wikimedia Licensing page, "Wikimedia Commons only accepts free content, that is, images and other media files that are not subject to copyright restrictions which would prevent them being used by anyone, anytime, for any purpose. The use may however be restricted by issues not related to copyright...." That last sentence means that media with a Creative Commons license that is uploaded to Wikimedia Commons can have qualifiers of "share alike" and "attribution". Those are not restricting actual usage, only requiring that when the media is used, it is used with the same license or the specification that anyone using it must say who created it. For a much more detailed explanation with a bonus of an easy to follow diagram, see this link:

Changing observation licenses on iNaturalist Should you wish to, there are several places that a license can be set on iNaturalist, including in user account settings for the automatic setting of your uploaded observations and media. Here is an observation that I uploaded recently: If you scroll to below the observation but above the data quality assessment, assuming you are using a web browser (I'm not sure what it looks like in the apps, and it's probably easier to do this on a browser), you will see

Copyright Info
Observation © Elizabeth Ballard · some rights reserved
(small image representing the CC-BY-SA license)

This means that I allow anyone to share anything about this observation anywhere as long as they a) say that I did it, and b) share the information with the CC-BY-SA license.

At the top right of an observation of your own is an "Edit" button. If you go into one of your observations, you will see it, and attached to it is a little triangle that points downward. If you click on that downward triangle, you will be given four options, in this order:

Edit License

In order to change the license of an observation, choose "Edit License". This pops up a nice window that explains the licenses. At the bottom of that window, there are also two check boxes. The first one is "Make this your default observation license". The second reads "Update Past observations". These only apply if you have decided to change license settings for all of your observations.

Note that changing the license on an existing observation does not change the licenses of the images attached to it.

Changing image licenses on iNaturalist Individual media on an observation can also have a license. If you view an observation image's information by clicking on the image, then clicking "i" which is at the bottom of the image, it will take you to a page that has information about that image. Once you get to that page, to the right of the photo, you will see something like this:

© (your name or username)
(your license's small image) some rights reserved Edit License

You won't see "Edit License" on any observation that is not yours. This is where you would edit an individual image license. If you click on the word "Edit License", it will pop up a similar window to the one you saw when editing the license of an observation. At the bottom on this window, there are also two optional check boxes that read "Make this your default photo license" and "Update Past photos". These only apply if you have decided to change license settings for all of your photos.

Setting your default licenses on iNaturalist There is a way in Account Settings to change your default licenses on iNaturalist rather than going through an observation or a photo. To get to these settings, in a browser, move your mouse pointer to your small circle iNat profile image (or just the small circle if you have not selected an image) in the upper right hand corner of the browser window. A menu will pop up with the following options, in this order:

Edit Observations

Account Settings

Sign Out

Choose "Account Settings". Then choose "Content & Display" which is in the list to your left. Scroll down on the screen to "Licensing". There are three options:

Default observation license
Default photo license
Default sound license

Changing a photo license for use on Wikipedia In order to allow some photos to be used on Wikipedia, if it is not already set to one of the Wikimedia Commons allowed licenses, you would need to change the observation license to CC0, CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA, then change the licenses of the photos for usage on Wikimedia Commons to one of those licenses. I personally like the CC-BY-SA license, but I've seen people on iNat use any option. Also note that if you wish to create a Wikimedia Commons account, you could upload your own images for use. Wikimedia also allow the use of Flickr images with acceptable licenses. The amazing main image of the calico aster article came from Flickr.

I realized this is long and detailed, but I hope it helps anyone who has wondered about those cryptic licensing symbols, as well as the source and creation of Wikipedia articles. Please let me know if I can explain anything better.

Elizabeth Ballard

Publicado el octubre 8, 2022 08:09 TARDE por elizabeth1067 elizabeth1067 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de octubre de 2022

Photographing asters for identification

This is a summation of the photos needed for photographing an aster plant for the best identification. The information is from a post on the Field Botanists of Ontario Facebook Group written by iNaturalist wdvanhem.

  1. The whole plant and a bit of surrounding environment
  2. The entire inflorescence (the blooming area)
  3. Close-up of a group of the flower heads showing ray length and color, disk color, etc.
  4. Close-up of involucres showing phyllaries, bracts, etc. (THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE FOR ASTER ID)
  5. Cauline (stem) leaf with stalk, if it has one, and the node where the leaf attaches to the stem
  6. Close-up of upper (adaxial) and lower (abaxial) leaf surfaces
  7. Close-up of the stem showing color, hairiness (or hairlessness), smoothness or grooved features, etc.
  8. Base of the plant to show basal leaves (if any, as sometimes after an aster is flowering, these have died, but the photo is good regardless)

Dropping this here for reference along with a link to an observation by wdvanhem that has all of these photos but the first.


Publicado el octubre 25, 2022 01:07 TARDE por elizabeth1067 elizabeth1067 | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario