Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Problem with Pinterest

It’s so simple, a pin here, a screen shot there, save image as, just copy and paste.  Easy, isn’t it?  Sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbler, etc., are great ways to bookmark your journey through the interweb and are a simple method for sharing what you find. However, when it comes to research, these sites are a blessing and a curse.

How can having all this information at one’s fingertips be a bad thing? ... Because of the rampant failure to cite sources, attribute research and recognize other’s work.

Recently we called out vendor for violating the copyright on a Larkin and Smith pattern.  When challenged to cite their source, they claimed that the object in question was inspired by an original.  The object, in fact, turned out to be an original – A Hallie Larkin original!  

But where did this all go wrong?  Simple – it’s easy to pin. It’s harder to take the time to cite your sources.  In this case, not only did the museum that housed this supposed “original” not get any credit, but the primary source was actually a secondary source.  A good one based on a primary sources mind you – but ultimately the vendor was inadvertently selling a copy of someone else’s work.

Here’s how Hivesters can make a difference!

If you are using sites like Pinterest – note where the pin originated.  Posting something on Facebook?  Cite the museum, date, artist, etc.  Quoting from a book, article, website – cite your sources.  

Good research is built on a framework constructed by others.  The reason we’ve come so far is because of people like Linda Baumgarten, Janet Arnold, Sally Queen, Sharon Burnston, Florence Montgomery, Claudia Kidwell, Edward Maeder, Beth Gilgun, and Henry Cooke, among others. 

Cite your sources. Give credit to those whose research you are using, respect intellectual property.  For you it might be a hobby and doesn’t really matter.  For the rest of us, it’s our hard work, and it does matter. 

For more about citations see:

1 comment:

  1. I would also suggest that if you are pinning or repinning an unattributed image, take a moment to do a google search for that image - it's a single click, for goodness sake - and see if it turns up the original image WITH source. Add the info to your pin. I've used the google image search to find original artists and sources for loads of things posted on twitter, too.