Summary of discussions - SERNEC - Appalachian State University

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Summary of discussions - SERNEC - Appalachian State Universityof,State,state

    Summary of discussions by the Live Plant Imaging subgroup of the Imaging Standards working group of SERNEC

    Compiled by Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences


    Recommendations Related to the Collection of Live Plant Images and Creation of a SERNEC Live Plant Image Collection (April 2008)

    Baskauf, S.J. and B.K. Kirchoff (2008) Digital plant images as specimens: toward standards for photographing living plants. Vulpina 7:16-30

Goals and Logistics

    The major goal of this group is to work toward the establishment of a SERNEC Live Plant Image Collection. In order to accomplish this goal, the Live Plant Imaging subgroup is discussing issues that need to be resolved to lay the groundwork for the establishment of the collection. The participants

    - with experience taking a significant number of live plant images

    - with an interest in or responsibility for maintaining a collection of live plant images - with an interest in using live plant images to create educational products After discussion we hope to reach a consensus on the issues that would allow creation of the collection to go forward.


    The following individuals participated in the discussion to varying degrees.

Steve Baskauf

    Bioimages plant image website; Vanderbilt University

Paul Davison

    bryophyte images; University of North Alabama

Jonathan Evans

    Director, Sewanee Herbarium; University of the South

Darel Hess

    plant photographer

Timothy M. Jones

    Carex taxonomy, interactive keys; Louisiana State University

Bruce K. Kirchoff

    visual, computer-based plant learning; UNC Greensboro

Joseph LaForest

    Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health (Bugwood Network), University of Georgia

Victor Ma

    collections manager; University of Tennessee herbarium

Zack Murrell

    SERNEC Director; Appalachian State University

Robert H Neidlinger

    plant photographer; assistant curator Western Kentucky University herbarium

Debra Paul


Jeffrey S. Pippen

    plant images; Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University

Derick Poindexter

    SERNEC Project Manager; Appalachian State University

Daniel W. Reed

    plant photographer; Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States website

Steve Seiberling

    digital imaging specialist, University of North Carolina Herbarium

Alan Weakley

    Curator, University of North Carolina Herbarium; Flora of the Southeast

B. Eugene Wofford

    Director, University of Tennessee Herbarium

    Major topics of discussion (outlined May 16, 2008)

The following major topics of discussion were identified with discussion to proceed sequentially

    through the topics.

    1. Licensing issues (e.g. what flavor of Creative Commons license would we adopt as the most

    restrictive allowable license that a participant could apply to contributed images, an understanding about what would be "fair game" for use of images in the collection without a permission request, how would the participating institution or individual be recognized and

    associated with images in the collection)

    2. Imaging standards (e.g. what standards should be adopted as guidelines for the way images are taken and the type of metadata collected along with the images, how should "legacy images"

    (high quality and reliably identified images that don't meet some of these standards) be

    incorporated into the collection?)

    3. Best practices for image collection (e.g. the logistics of collecting images, archiving them,

    and assembling the database that would allow users to find the images they need).

    Summary of first round of discussion (June 3, 2008).

     See Appendix A for discussion details and some excerpts.

    Basic principles of the SERNEC Live Plant Image Collection

I. Definitions

     A. SERNEC. Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections.

     B. Photographers. Voluntary participants in the live plant image collection who choose to submit images for the collection. The "photographers" are the copyright holders of the images and may be individuals or institutions.

     C. Users. Individuals or institutions who use images in the SERNEC live plant image collection.

     D. Permanent repository. The Internet-accessible site where high-resolution copies of all images in the collection are archived and made available to users.

     E. Commercial use. Use of images to create a product that will be sold or to promote products that will be sold (i.e. advertising).

II. Goals of the SERNEC live plant image collection

     A. Accuracy.

     1. Inclusion of an image in the SERNEC collection implies that the identification of the image is accurate.

     2. Accuracy in identification will be achieved primarily through the care taken by the photographers. It is assumed that the photographers will have some skill in plant identification or are working with someone with such skills

     3. It is understood and expected that images included in the collection will be subject to annotation by SERNEC taxonomists. The types of images, way that they are photographed, and metadata associated with the images will facilitate verification of the identity of the subject of the images.

     B. Encouraged uses.

     1. Educational use is encouraged.

     a. Noncommercial educational use does not require permission.

     b. Commercial educational use is at the discretion of the photographer but photographers are encouraged to allow low-profit, or not-for profit use at low cost or gratis.

     2. The standardization of images will facilitate the use of many images by different photographers in large-scale educational projects.

     a. SERNEC will facilitate and perhaps coordinate such projects.

     b. Although not required, photographers should be given "courtesy

    notification" of the use of their images in large-scale projects. If possible, an automatic system for accomplishing this may be included in the SERNEC database system.

III. Relationship between the photographer and SERNEC.

     A. Photographers

     1. Photographers retain copyrights to their images unless they opt to release the images into the public domain.

     2. Photographers may continue to use their images as they wish, including publishing them on their own or other websites and making individual arrangements to license them to commercial users.

     3. Photographers agree to license their contributed images under a Creative Commons ("CC"; license no more restrictive than Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 (BY-NC-SA) or to release them to the Public Domain.

     a. The purpose of this requirement is to allow users to use multiple images from the collection for non-commercial personal or educational use without the need to scrutinize the licensing terms of each image.

     b. More restrictive (not allowed) licenses would include any CC license containing the No Derivatives (ND) element.

     c. Less restrictive (allowed) licenses would include: BY, BY-NC, and BY-SA.

     d. In the context of the SERNEC live plant image collection, the Share Alike element is understood to mean that derivative works of the image itself (e.g. images that are cropped, annotated, enhanced, or otherwise modified) created by the user must be licensed under the same license as the original image. The Share Alike element is understood to not apply to other content that may appear with the unmodified image (i.e. on the same web or print page). That other content may be licensed according to the wishes of its creator. (See the comment below about "collective works" in the excerpt from the Creative Commons Frequently Asked Questions.)

     4. Photographers provide metadata associated with the image. These metadata will be organized according to components of the Darwin Core and will include a minimum of taxonomy and photographer data. Optimally they will also include location and other relevant data.

     5. Photographers will follow the established image and metadata standards to the extent that they are able.

     B. SERNEC

     1. SERNEC ensures that submitted images and their associated metadata are archived in a permanent repository.

     2. SERNEC maintains a database of images and their metadata. It provides tools that allow users to locate relevant images in the collection in multiple ways.

     3. SERNEC acknowledges the photographer as the image owner.

     a. SERNEC provides the information necessary for proper attribution of the image.

     b. SERNEC provides a means for the user to contact the photographer (i.e. email or Web address).

     c. The contact and attribution information may be provided through the permanent repository.

     d. SERNEC will attempt to create a means by which users can send a

    blanket "courtesy use request" or commercial use request for multiple images.

     4. SERNEC provides metadata about ID and location to biodiversity projects with the images as photo vouchers. As necessary, the precision of location data are reduced to protect threatened or sensitive populations.

    Excerpt below from the Creative Commons website ( and available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

    If I use a Creative Commons-licensed work with other works, do I have to Creative Commons license everything else as well?

    With the exception of those of our licenses that contain the ShareAlike element, the Creative Commons licenses do not require everything else to be Creative Commons licensed as well. We specifically designed the Creative Commons licenses so that they would not turn all other works they were combined with into being Creative Commons-licensed. If you combine any work with a Creative Commons-licensed work that is licensed with a ShareAlike license provision, then, because of the way that the ShareAlike license element operates, the resultant work will need to be licensed under the same license as the original work. If you include a Creative Commons licensed work in a “collective work” (ie. a collection of works in their exact original format, not adaptations), then you only need to continue to apply the Creative Commons license to that work (even if the work was licensed under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license provision). You do not need to apply it to the entire collection.

    Summary of second round of discussion (December 5, 2008)

    Compiled by Steve Baskauf

Live Plant Imaging standards: What do we photograph, how do we

    photograph it, and what kind of information do we want to include with the images?

    I. Considerations:

    A. Purpose. The standards are intended not only to produce standardized orientations of plant parts and to ensure that detailed images are collected of the features that are important for identification, but to facilitate rapid image collection under field conditions and to minimize the need for image manipulation during later processing.

    B. Standardization of views. The development of standardized categories of features to be

    photographed (&