About Open

Lots of chatter across the edu-blogger web the last week or so about the notion of open — what does it mean, why bother to discuss it, and why should we care. The idea that we (as Institutions) would take the time to debate the value or the process by which we arrive at the notion of openness is complex to say the least. If we value the ideals of the Land Grant Institution (or education in general), then why argue when we can just be open? These are questions we deal with when we talk about the notion of open and they are difficult at best to answer. Tonight I think I found an example that may make sense of some of the conversation.

Most of you already realize Google is hosting images from the Life archive. They are brilliant and it speaks to the amazing power of not only Google, but the Internet in general. I spent only a few minutes today using the special, “source:life” search addition and the results were at once moving and inspirational. The power to see and access such historically significant works of art is nothing short of stunning. I was, for some reason, compelled to look at old Life photos of JFK … I think it is because I watched an excellent, American Experience episode on PBS last night about the his assassination. The image that struck me can be found here.

Did you look at the link? Did you notice something about the way that I referneced that beautiful and powerful image? I linked to it. I didn’t embed it. I linked to it. Maybe I am missing something with the Google/Time archive, but I didn’t see anything that asked me to use that photo in my context. I like that the images are accessible but to me, this is an example of what closed now means.

Now, when I do the same thing at Flickr in relation to Barack Obama’s campaign photos something very different emerges. You’ll notice something significant — You can see the image below in my context. Powerful imagery with unreal historical significance, within my space telling my story. Where do you see it? Right here from Barack Obama’s Flickr page, shared via a Creative Commons license. That to me is openness. Any thoughts?