Full Credit

I’ve been reading the Austin Kleon “trilogy on creativity” and making connections with OpenSees. In the second book, Show Your Work!, Kleon explains why and how you should always credit the creators of work you share.

Or, in the world of OpenSees, the creators of work you remix then share.

Sure, the creators of the OpenSees source code usually get credit. I’m talking more about the OpenSees content that’s not considered source code, i.e., tutorials, scripts, examples, visualization tools, etc.

We all know that non-attribution robs the original creator of credit. But it also robs your audience of the opportunity to find more about, and more of, the creator’s work you’ve remixed.

At a minimum, give a link to the creator’s work or their website. Don’t just give a name–people are too busy to Google a name then sift through the search results. Attribution without a link is about as useful as a knife in a gunfight.

Also give as much context as possible to the work you’re sharing–how and when it was made, why and how you remixed it, why you are sharing it, and why it’s useful to your audience.

But what if you want to share something and don’t know where it came from or who made it? Simple. Don’t share it if you can’t give proper credit.

And if you do know where and who the work came from and still don’t want to give credit, then a little soul searching is in order. Treat the work you remix with the same respect that you expect for your own work.

Crediting digital work, especially OpenSees scripts and tools, may seem pointless. But it’s the right thing to do.

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