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Once upon a time, librarians curated what were usually called “picture collections.” These were files (actual paper files!) filled with pictures clipped from other sources that the librarians knew could be reused in articles and publications- hence the origin of the term “clip art.” When an author was working to pull together a publication, he or she would mosey over to the library or archives and work with this curated picture collection.

Then the internet happened. The wealth of images available online has created a minefield of intellectual property and academic ethics issues. Just because you can view content online for free (whether it be photos on Flickr or a copy of someone’s thesis) does not mean you can download, remix, reuse, sell commercially, or do anything you want with it. Content creators have rights.

Creative Commons licenses are a component of the open access toolkit that allows authors and creators to share their content while maintaining some important essential and creative rights to their works. In other words, issuing work under a CC license gives you the ability to freely share your work, under terms that you dictate. This differs from the public domain, which dictates that nobody owns a piece of content, and is a matter for another blog post, another day.

There are six Creative Commons licenses, which offer differing levels of reuse permission (the most common restrictions involve changing or adapting images, and making money from the reuse of images). CC has a handy tool to help creators determine what sort of license they would like to use.

When it comes to finding images licensed under Creative Commons, there are several great resources to visit and tricks to use to find images for your posters, presentations, and publications.

I suggest starting with Flickr. After you execute a search you can limit your results to Creative Commons only, as well as images that allow commercial reuse and modifications:


Once you’ve done that, you can view the specific rights for any image by clicking the Rights link (this also tells you what you are allowed to do with an image):



Google Images allows a similar search limit. After you search, select your parameters under the “Usage Rights” menu:



With all Creative Commons works, you are expected to attribute the creator and source (at the very least), and CC has a great guide to Best Practices for Attribution.

This is just a quick introduction to Creative Commons resources. If you have any questions, please contact us at Even better, attend our upcoming Open Workshop on October 30 at noon, “But I Found it Online!” Proper Use and Attribution of Images for Papers, Posters, and Presentations.” Click here for more details and to register!

In our continued celebration of International Open Access Week, I would like to direct your attention to some of my favorite scholarly resources that just so happen to also be Open Access or promote Open Access.

In case you need a refresher, in his book Open Access, Peter Suber writes:  “The basic idea of OA is simple: Make research literature available online without price barriers and without most permission barriers.” In a nutshell, OA materials are free to access, and you can download, copy, distribute, transmit, harvest, use web crawlers, etc. for free as well. Just give attribution to authors and creators and you’ll all set.

So, can it be any good if it’s free? You bet! OA publishers have banded together to police the landscape, ensuring adherence standards regarding peer review, licensing, and research integrity, and more.

Stay tuned all week as we give you more information about OA publishing, self-archiving, other free learning materials online, and more! But for now, enjoy some of our favorite scholarly resources in the OA community.

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Affiliated with the Association of Research Libraries, the Scholarly Publication and Academic Resources Coalition is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. Includes excellent information about Article-Level Metrics, a new approach to quantifying the reach and impact of published research.


Established in 2002, the Directory of Open Access Journals works to collect and provide access to scholarly OA journals across international borders and disciplines.


With a publishing arm over ten years old, the Public Library of Science publishes seven peer-reviewed, OA journals. A paper published in a PLOS journal has recently received international attention when used as supporting material in a U.S. House of Representatives hearing about the spread of the Ebola virus.


Based in the UK, BioMed Central published 269 peer-reviewed Open Access journals, including a wide array of specialty titles in medicine.


Finally, I have to mention the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries working to digitize biodiversity literature and make it available for open access. BHL is not a publisher, but works with libraries and publishers to make important historical and current scientific literature available free to anyone with an internet connection. Besides serving some of the rarest and most remarkable literature you will ever see online, my interest in the OA world stems directly from the 6 years I spent working with BHL.

This is just a small selection of resources in an ever-expanding OA world; feel free to comment if there are others you would like to share!


This week, October 20-26th, is International Open Access Week.  Here at the Tufts Libraries, we decided to take this opportunity to highlight the scholarly publishing related workshops we are hosting during the month of October.  In particular, be sure not to miss…

Field Guide to Spotting Predatory Publishers

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – noon to 1:00pm
Location: Sackler 510

Advice from the Experts: Inside Scientific Publishing

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 – 10:30 to 1:30pm

Location: Sackler 607  (pizza lunch included, so be sure to register)

“But I Found it Online!” Proper Use and Attribution of Images for Papers, Posters, and Presentations

Thursday, October 30, 2014 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Location: Sackler 510

Open Peer Review in STEM with Dr. Cesar Berrios-Otero, Outreach Director, Faculty of 1000 Research

Thursday, October 30, 2014 – 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Location: Tisch Library Austin Room, Medford Campus


Curious to find out more about open access?  Check out the Tufts Scholarly Communication website and watch this space! We’ll be posting something Open Access-related each day this week.

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Are you new to the world of scientific publishing? Want to garner some advice on getting your work published? Join HHSL, OEA Faculty Development, and top journal publishers and editors for:

Advice from the Experts: Inside Scientific Publishing


A panel of experts from Springer, Oxford, New England Journal of Medicine, and Elsevier will offer industry insight and answer your burning questions. This program is geared toward faculty, housestaff, and post-docs green to the world of scientific publishing.
The event will include a moderated panel and Q&A session, followed by lunch and informal discussion. For registration and the full schedule, please visit .

Sixth Floor Classroom 2It’s been a busy summer up on the 6th floor and we’re pleased to report that the new classroom is on track to open on October 1st! The work on the administrative offices is set to finish up soon after. Since the floor is still a work in progress, please continue to study on other floors until the renovations are completed.

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If you are a student returning to higher education after a lengthy absence, we hope that you’ll come to the library social event on Friday, September 19 from 2:30-4pm in Special Collections (6th floor). Got little ones? Bring them, too!
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HHSL is pleased to announce that we will be live streaming some of the TEDMED 2014 sessions in the Sackler 510 computer lab.

TML14_Unlocking Imagination


Wednesday, September 10

1pm-2:45pm: “We Just Don’t Know”

4:45pm-6:15pm: “Flat Out Amazing”

Thursday, September 11

8:30am-10:10am: “Stealing Smart”

4:30pm-6:05pm: “Play is Not a Waste of Time”

Friday, September 12

11am-12:40pm: “Weird and Wonderful”

2:30-4pm: “I Was Just Thinking Too Small”

Session descriptions can be found here.

If there is enough interest in a session that we were unable to broadcast live, we may be able to arrange an on-demand viewing at a later date. Please contact if you would like to request a session or have any questions.

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Now that everyone is back on campus and settled into their routine, the HHSL is beginning our Open Workshop series on Thursdays from noon-1pm in Sackler 510. These one hour classes are open to anyone affiliated with Tufts University or the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, and cover a wide range of relevant and interesting topics.


Our kick-off event is this Thursday, and will include snacks, as we take you through some of the most popular FAQs about using and accessing the library resources. You can find all of the upcoming classes and their descriptions on our Open Workshops calendar page.

Registration is required for the workshops, and you are absolutely allowed to eat and drink responsibly in the computer lab!

Come learn with us!

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Join us this Friday, September 5th at 12 noon in Sackler 604 for our first book talk of the academic year. Bring your lunch and enjoy coffee and cookies courtesy of the library!
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Copies of the book will be available for purchase at a discounted price of $15.00, cash or check, for those with a Tufts University or Tufts Medical Center ID.

On Monday, August 18, we are performing maintenance on the library catalog and related services. You will be unable to access the following: the Library Catalog; requesting in the catalog and in BLC WorldCat; FindIt@Tufts; My Account; Course Reserves. Normal service should resume at the start of business on Tuesday, August 19th. We will update you if there are any changes.

During this downtime, the following research and borrowing resources WILL be available: JumboSearch (for searching but limited Tufts library info); the Database Finder; BLC WorldCat (for searching but not requesting); ILLiad for document delivery requests; Electronic Journals; ResearchGuides@Tufts.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you!