Initial Publication Date: April 27, 2016

Authorship, Copyright, Provenance and Reuse

Serckit has a number of tools for letting visitors know about the authorship of the materials and what permissions they have to reuse them.


In general each independent piece of content (which may be a single page or a set of pages) should clearly give credit to the contributors and authors up front. Many page templates have dedicated sections for this information, often auto-populated if the page was created via form. Additionally you can surround any credit by-line with [author] ...[end author] to give the system the hint that the information within related to giving credit for the page. In addition to this directly visible information the credit information should also be recorded in the provenance use field associated with the page. This is an additional field available in the full editing interface. If a given page doesn't already have this field in place you can add it using the relevant option under "Show Options for Adding/Deleting Fields".

In many case the system will automatically create and populate the Provenance Reuse data based on information gleaned from the page. In particular it looks for names near the top of the page, especially in credit fields, email addresses in email fields and who has edited the page itself. You can also manually enter information including the id's of the people who should be getting credit (a search interface to find folks in the system is linked from the Provenance/Reuse editing page) as well as putting in an explicit statement about the source and authorship of the materials. Depending on the template this provenance statement may be visible in site footers. Contributors specifically identified by id will have their contributions directly reflected on their profile page.


It's important that visitors have an easy way to understand how they are allowed to use the materials they find on the site. Most projects will have a default copyright/reuse stance, often available in the page footer. If a specific page has a different licensing situation you can enter the details in the provenance and reuse field. Individual files, including images, also have their provenance and reuse information tracked. This information is populated with (adjustable) default fields when the file is initially uploaded and can be adjusted from the editing/updating page for that file.

Not familiar with how Copyright pertains to educational materials you are posting online?  You'll want to check out our Copyright Pointers for Contributors.