Below are a few observations I’ve made in the month since the story ran….
1) Misspellings on my name
2) Lack of context
3) Lack of citation
Read my thoughts after the fold….
SPELLING: As lame as this may sound, it’s downright surprising that someone can spell my name incorrectly in their blog entry about me, then link to my website with the correct spelling. For example, the popular blog “www.haha.nu” had a blog entry about my maps. In the posting, my name is Nicholas Schiller, but when they linked to my website they used the correct spelling. What’s worse is that in the echo chamber of the internet, this misspelling does not seem to matter, and other bloggers have reposted the content without realizing that they are blindly propagating this misspelling. Sad, but somewhat funny. (update- I contacted the editor of haha.nu and he has graciously corrected the spelling of my name in the blog entry. Thank you!)
CONTEXT: I know fully well that the only reason why people happen to be blogging about the maps is because of the Washington Post story. Yet the most recent blog entries omit the story and tend to focus on the mistaken notion that I created these pretty maps using imagery from Google Maps. The funny part of this misconception is that I was making these maps before Google Maps existed! This lack of context is really disappointing to me. The story, and it’s subsequent global syndication, tell the story of who I am and why people are only finding out about my maps now (even though they’ve been on-line for years). There is no context given in regards to why my website is not cached by search engines, rather, instead of focusing on who makes the maps, its simply that I make pretty maps. I feel its a huge disservice to those who are visiting my website without, what I feel to be, the proper context.
LACK OF CITATION: In my website’s Fair Use section, which I updated shortly before the story’s publication, I ask people to include the name of the map, as well as the link to where they found it on my website. I have no issue with people reposting my maps because they are in reality 1/15th their original size when on-line (and even smaller when people place them on their websites). Yet this simple citation has not been done in most cases. Thus a casual viewer sees a map of mine accompanying someone’s blog entry, yet they are not given the basic information of what they are seeing, nor the means to find out, rather, simply given a link to my website. The inherent irony is that if someone happens to like what they see, they are forced to find the map on my website. Which, after all, was the premise in which my quasi-hidden website was based on. Yet, this is frustrating because it shows a lack care many people show for other people’s work.
The only remedy I see is to personally contact the bloggers who are at fault and provide them with the correct information…. I will be updating this posting in the near after-future with updates.