I will be emphatically refuting many things from Terra’s blog post. It is probably best not to comment on this post or even read it unless you don’t mind me ranting. Also, I don’t have a lot of experience with using online databases to digitally render new materials, so what I say may potentially be very biased and uninformed. And for that, I apologize.
The maker’s revolution does allow for new material to arise, but unlike what Melissa Terra states in her blog, not all information should be made available, as there are certain sensitive bits of information out there, as Leopold states in our other reading. Not all individuals wants their information (cultural or otherwise) easily accessible by everyone else. We have to take peoples’ personal ideals into account. Additionally, if some people do want their information in the air but does not want it to be reused, that is also their right. Institutions do not get to choose. The original authors do. If not them, the law does. And institutions have to obey the law. This has nothing to do with cowardice, as Terra puts it. In fact, you could make the argument that if she weren’t such a coward, she’d use the copyrighted material herself. (She does say other people will use the copyright material regardless, but that carries less weight than for an actual institution to allow it.)
Terra explains of how difficult it is to search for material using existing institutional databases, desiring for them to use a better platform. What Melissa Terra is asking is for institutions to create a system to help galvanize the maker’s revolution when they have no interest in doing so. I say she is asking for them to create a new platform, as she stresses that existing platforms are unwieldy to use. She also does not give out an alternative platform to use. In any case, I was curious to see if using the databases were as difficult as she claimed, so I decided to try one for myself using “Europeana”, one of the websites she provides. As I stated earlier, I do not have a lot of experience with creating items or using databases to search for cultural materials to use in projects, so perhaps my view does not coincide with that of a participant of the maker’s revolution. I found searching for information to be fairly easy, filtering out objects with key words. I did not need a set cherry-picked files to easily choose images from, which is something she also advocates for (I also feel that cherry-picked files make it such that creativity is lost – everyone would be using those files so they would no longer be creative).
TL:DR: Institutions exist to categorize and put forth information. They do not have the responsibility of galvanizing the maker’s revolution.