The User's Guide to Open Media Boston
1. How to Get a User Account on OMB
2. How to Publish Content to OMB
3. How to List an Upcoming Event on OMB
4. How to Receive OMB Updates via RSS Feed, Email Update and Twitter
5. Content Rights and Licensing
6. Fair Use Notice
7. Official Style Guide
1.1 User Registration Form
Although Open Media Boston can be viewed in its entirety by any person on the web, only registered Users can publish content to the site - from text comments on existing content to new content in text, image, audio and video formats. Registration is simple. Just find the Create New Account link on the left hand column of the OMB front page, click it, and you will be taken to the registration form. Fill out the requested information, submit the form, and reply to the authentication email you will receive from the OMB system by following the provided instructions. Once you have responded to the email, your User account will be authenticated, and you will be ready to log in to OMB.
1.1.1 Real Names Are Mandatory
All OMB Users must provide their real name (including your first and last names), although your Username can be a handle or nickname if you wish. All OMB Viewers must be able to click on the Username in any post, and be able to find out the actual identity of the poster. (For this reason we suggest that your Username and your real name be similar or identical.) Anonymous posts are not allowed on OMB. Posts using pseudonyms will not normally be allowed, but exceptions for "nom de plume" and "nom de guerre" may be made by OMB Editors on a case-by-case basis. Visitors to the site will always be able to see any OMB User's real name in their User Profile by clicking on their Username. Posting false information in this or any of the subsequent fields in the User Registration Form is grounds for automatic OMB User account deletion (we do, however, allow for individual whimsy in the "About Me" field).
All private personal information submitted to OMB as part of User Registration, which at this point includes only each User's email address, will only used for: a) account validation purposes by OMB Editors and Site Administrators, and b) communication purposes by OMB Editors and Site Administrators. Private personal information submitted to OMB will not be given or sold to any third party.
1.2 User Account Login
To login to your User account, simply find the login area in the left hand column of the OMB front page. Then provide your Username and Password, and the system will log you in to your account. Once logged in, you will be able to post content to OMB.
2. How to Publish Content to OMB
Registered Users can publish content to OMB in two ways - either by commenting on existing content (which should be self-explanatory), or by publishing new material using the Content Submission Form. A detailed description of every field in that form follows. When you've entered all the information necessary for your post, just hit the Submit button at the bottom of the page, and your story will be posted to the Open Forum (see section 2.2 for more info). Selected submissions will be promoted by OMB Editors to the Front Page. OMB does not accept anonymous posts and we only allow pseudonyms under very unusual circumstances (see section 1.1.1 for more info). All submissions to our Opinion section are expected to include some kind of "Boston hook" that makes the article relevant to our largely Boston-based audience. And we only accept submissions from the general public for publication in our Opinion, Living, Arts and Tech sections. Our News and Editorial sections are for OMB staff only. Remember: be sure to always keep a backup copy of your post in some kind of word processing software on your own computer (or using Google Docs or other online work processing system if you don't own your own computer). OMB is not responsible for archiving submissions.
2.1 Content Submission Form
This form can be found by clicking the "Create Content" link in the menu box on the top section of the left-hand column on the OMB front page. Once clicked you will be taken to the form itself. There are several fields in the form. An explanation follows for each.
Straightforward enough. Just place the proposed title of your content here.
2.1.2 Author Name(s)
Also simple. Place the name or names of the primary author or authors of the content.
2.1.3 Author Type
It's important that OMB viewers are able to have an idea about who is providing the content on OMB. The editors of OMB believe that people should be able to produce opinion and analysis about events/issues they are deeply involved in as activists or advocates, but we also think it's important that the viewing audience be able to distinguish activists and advocates from independent journalists. We further think that it's o.k. to repost useful material from other sources on rare occasions, but that, too, should be indicated. Then there are OMB staff who get their own designation. So we have created 5 author types to properly identify these varied content providers.
Choosing this indicates that the primary content author is an independent journalist, artist, or producer.
The primary content author is a participant in the event being covered or analyzed.
The primary content author is a paid employee for a group working on the issue(s) being covered or analyzed, or is a long-time activist working on the issue(s) in question.
The work of the primary content author is being reposted from another online or offline source. Please always indicate (and link to the original webpage if possible) what source it is being reposted from). OMB Users can only repost content that they have the right to repost - OMB Editors will make that determination in consultation with each Reposter on a case by case basis. Content that is in the public domain or licensed under most of the Creative Commons licenses will be the easiest to verify. Using content that is under Copyright will require the Reposter to demonstrate that the content is available for use on sites like OMB. Please note that Open Media Boston only allows the use of this Author Type under highly unusual circumstances when we cannot get relevant information for publication in any other way - since we always prefer original submissions.
The primary content author is an employee (either paid or unpaid) of OMB. This author type includes OMB Staff and Editors.
2.1.4 Content Type
Simply put what type of content you are publishing to OMB in this field. The choices are Text, Image (generally photos), Text & Image, Audio, Video, Multimedia (which would include 3 or more of the other content types).
2.1.5 Sections and Beats
This (currently unmarked) area of the Content Submission Form is the place where you will suggest what Section and Beats the Editorial Board will assign your content submission to if it is promoted to the OMB Front Page from the Open Forum. It appears just below the Content Type area of the form. When you first look at the Sections and Beats area, you will see all major OMB Sections (Arts, Editorial, Living, News, Opinion and Tech) listed vertically. If you click on a Section you'll see the Beats. Suggest only two Beats for one Section of OMB. And never choose Beats connected to more than one Section. Two Beats under one Section only. That's the rule. Sections demarcate major thematic divisions of OMB, Beats indicate sub-themes within Sections (e.g., under the Arts section you might choose the Beats "Movie" and "Review.") Please be sure make at least one Beat suggestion or your post will not go to the Open Forum - and Editors may not notice it in a timely fashion. Remember, we're most interested in material that relates to the Greater Boston area in some direct way (although we'll relax that rule for things that often aren't place-specific like Tech content). Again, there are currently 6 major Sections: Arts, Editorial, Living, News, Opinion, and Tech. There are many Beats under each. Editorials can only be published by Editorial Board members, and so is not a valid choice. The rest will be described here.
Anything related to the arts goes in this section. This includes graphic, plastic and conceptual arts. So stuff you'd find in a gallery or art museum, and stuff you'd find in a book, magazine, theater, video or concert are all good for this section. Reviews and criticism are encouraged, but original works are also great.
Anything that can't be filed under Arts, but wouldn't go in the News, Tech or Opinion sections, should go in the Living section. Things like restaurant reviews, travel articles, and fun and games of all kinds belong here--as does material that doesn't always fit elsewhere like faith and sports.
This section is the heart of OMB. All news stories about the Greater Boston area should be placed there. All news content is produced by independent journalists or Staff. Participants, Advocates, and Reposters are not allowed to post to our News section.
This section is the equivalent of the Op-Ed section in a newspaper. Carefully considered opinions on issues of the day go here. News submissions about non-controversial issues written by Participants or Advocates may also be placed there. Please note that OMB does not run Participant or Advocate News Stories covering events or subjects that OMB staff is already covering for our News section - also see our note on Press Releases below.
The Tech section covers developments in science and technology of interest to the OMB community.
184.108.40.206 Note on Press Releases
Press Releases are not acceptable content for publication in Open Media Boston. Any press releases submitted to OMB will need to be rewritten as op-eds for the OMB Opinion section to be considered for publication. Press releases that are not rewritten will remain in the Open Forum. Open Media Boston is a news outlet, not a PR outlet.
2.1.6 License (also see User's Guide Section 5, Content Rights and Licensing)
Content authors will need to choose which license (or lack of license) that they are releasing their work under. Licenses on OMB will always be assumed to be held by the listed content author or authors--including in the case of reposted material. Remember, the User posting the material is not necessarily the same person(people) as the content author(s). OMB offers a wide choice of licenses, which can be confusing for those Users who are not familiar with the ongoing debates over Copyright and its discontents. The list of available licenses follows.
The traditional standard copy protection license used by authors since the founding of the United States. By choosing this license on OMB, authors are granting OMB the non-exclusive right to display their Copyrighted work on our website, and to store the work on our server.
220.127.116.11 GNU Free Documentation License
Keep in mind that this license was developed for use by people writing technical manuals to accompany software packages, and that a new version is being developed right now that may be more applicable to the type of content we're publishing at OMB (to participate in the drafting of the new version, go here http://gplv3.fsf.org/fdl-draft-2006-09-22.html). To quote the Free Software Foundation's GNU project website: "The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others."
18.104.22.168 Creative Commons Licenses
The Creative Commons family of licenses was created to meet a perceived need of content authors to have more control over how their content was used by others--especially as the advent of the internet and the web has made it increasingly easy to copy and share works without the express permission of the original authors. Creative Commons can be viewed as offering more options to content authors who want non-commercial individuals and entities to be able to share or even modify their works under certain conditions. But with ease of use, since it does not require the content author to write a new custom Copyright notice for each work or type of work - generally without the requisite legal experience to do so. Over the few years of its existence several types of Creative Commons licenses have been created by the non-profit that oversees the effort. OMB offers all 6 applicable licenses, and we have provided links to explanatory webpages for each, rather than write our own explanation. One key fact to keep in mind is that Creative Commons Licenses are all meant to work with Copyright, and to supplement and augment it, not to supplant or supersede it.
22.214.171.124.1 Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
126.96.36.199 Free Art License
An easy-to-understand copyleft license that has features of both the GNU FDL and Creative Commons licenses. More widely used in Europe then elsewhere. According to its creators: The Free Art License can be applied to digital as well as physical works. You can choose to apply the Free Art License on any text, picture, sound, gesture, or whatever sort of stuff on which you have sufficient author's rights."
None of this capitalist copyright bullshit for you. Thoughts should be free. Punk's not dead! Oi, Oi, Oi!
188.8.131.52 Public Domain
Copyright, copyleft makes no never mind in this license choice. Anything in the public domain is completely free for anyone to use however they want. Even evil clowns ... The Creative Commons folks have a Public Domain Dedication that is worth checking out.
This field is actually both a video and audio submission field. It allows Users to embed content from Blip.tv, Brightcove, Dailymotion, Google Video, JumpCut, Live Video, MetaCafe, MySpace, Revver, Sevenload, YouTube and it also allows you to submit Custom URLs (standard web links starting with http://) in the following formats: wav, wma, rm, swf, flv, and mov. We'll be working on getting .ogg and other free software media formats and embed sites enabled as soon as we can. If you are just submitting a standalone video, be sure to still give it a title and a line or two of descriptive text in the Body field; so everyone will know what it is. Visually-impaired viewers will always need a clue, too. Same goes for audio submissions vis hearing-impaired individuals.
Submit images here by downloading them directly to OMB with the interface provided. Click the browse button to look through images on your computer, upload them, and they will be automatically attached to your post. If you are just submitting a standalone image, be sure to still give it a title and a line or two of descriptive text in the Body field; so everyone will know what it is. As with video submissions, some pictures are not worth a thousand words, and visually-impaired viewers will always need a clue, too.
Cut and paste all important text for your post in this field. And again, be sure to always have a copy of your post in some kind of word processing software on your own computer (or using Google Docs or other online work processing system if you don't own your own computer). We do not yet have a word processor style interface, but the system is set for Filtered HTML for those willing to learn a few HTML commands. So web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. The allowed HTML tags are: a, em, strong, cite, code, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, and dd.
2.2 Open Forum
The Open Forum area of OMB is the place where all content submissions go first. OMB Editors monitor the Open Forum regularly and look over all new material posted there. Submissions that meet basic journalistic standards and production values - and critically, are not at variance with OMB editorial policy - may be published on the OMB Front Page. Submissions that are rejected for publication will stay in the Open Forum. It's important to understand that having a post in the Open Forum is absolutely not the same as being published in OMB. The Open Forum is essentially a bulletin board. The Editors will always stand by all material on the OMB Front Page, and anything there has been officially published in OMB. Material in the Open Forum is displayed there in the public interest and in the interest of encouraging free speech in broad terms - something most news media would never consider doing. But since Open Forum posts are not published by OMB, the Editors take no responsibility for material posted there. Nevertheless, material that is objectionable to the Editors - being seen as unfit for display anywhere on OMB by any metric and/or completely lacking in redeeming value - will be deleted from the Open Forum at their discretion.
3.1 Click the "Create Content" link on the main menu on the left-hand column of every page.
3.2 On the Create Content page, click the "Event" link which will open the Event Submission Form
3.3 Fill out the Event Submission Form.
3.3.1 If you just wish the Start Time of an event to be listed, but not the End Time, simply ignore the End Time section of the form.
3.3.2 If you are listing an All Day event - or a series of All Day events - just click the All Day Event check box.
3.3.3 When you have completed the Event Submission Form, hit the "Submit" button at the bottom of the form.
3.4 To edit an event that you have listed, click on your event in the Upcoming Events section on the left-hand column of every page to show your full event listing, then choose the "Edit" Tab just under the title of your event listing.
3.4.1 Editing your event uses the same form as posting a new event.
3.4.2 When you have completed editing your event, click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the form, and your revised listing will appear in the "Upcoming Events" section on the left-hand column of every page.
4.1 RSS Feed
4.1.1 To subscribe to the Open Media Boston Feed using RSS (Really Simple Syndication), just click on the"Subscribe to OMB Feed" link in the RSS Feed section displayed on the left-hand side of every OMB page. Then follow the simple instructions on the FeedBurner page you'll be taken to.
4.1.2 If you don't know what an RSS Feed is, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rss.
4.2 Email Update
4.2.1 To subscribe to Open Media Boston Email Updates, just type your email address into the box in the Email Updates section displayed on the left-hand side of every OMB page and click the "Subscribe" button.
4.3.1 To follow Open Media Boston on the Twitter microblogging service, first get a free Twitter account at http://twitter.com - if you don't already have one. Then click the "Follow OMB on Twitter" link in the Twitter section displayed on the left-hand side of every OMB page and follow the simple instructions on the Twitter page you'll be taken to.
4.3.2 If you don't know what micro-blogging services like Twitter do, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-blogging.
5. Content Rights and Licensing
All rights to content posted to the Open Media Boston website remain with the content author, however, by posting digital content in text, image, audio, video, or multimedia formats with this form, the author grants Open Media Boston a non-exclusive license to display said content on the Open Media Boston website and any future Open Media websites, and to store the content on the Open Media Boston server and on any future Open Media servers. The content author may revoke this license at any time by deleting his/her/their posted material from the Open Media Boston website and any future Open Media website (this will also delete said material from the appropriate server). This license is not a guarantee of display of any posted material for any length of time on the Open Media Boston website or any future Open Media websites or of storage on the Open Media Boston server or any future Open Media servers. Open Media Boston reserves the right to remove any posted material from from our websites or our servers at any time.
6. Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Open Media Boston is making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. Anyone wishing to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of their own that go beyond "fair use" must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
7. Official Style Guide
OMB uses the Associated Press Stylebook (42nd Ed.) as our guide to punctuation, spelling and grammatical conventions, and basic media law. For a deeper perspective on grammar we look to the Chicago Manual of Style (15th Ed.), and we use http://www.freedictionary.com as our dictionary/thesaurus of choice. For American slang and colloquialisms we use http://www.urbandictionary.com.