The following is a guest post by Jessica Smith, National Copyright Officer for the National Copyright Unit of Australia. She ran the Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) course with Delia Browne as part of the School of Open’s second round of facilitated courses in 2013.
The School of Open is a community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works.
The National Copyright Unit (NCU) of Australia ran its second cycle of the School of Open’s Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) course in August. The course ran for seven weeks, with a two-week introduction period and five weeks of substantive group work. We took on 60 learners, with enrollments filling up in less than two days, plus a wait list of around 15 people. At the end of the course, we only had 3 drop-outs, a 95% retention rate!
On top of those stellar results, we also had very happy learners as well as great results in terms of the uptake and understanding of the information. We have an ongoing wait list for the course as well as teachers and librarians continuously enquiring about the course. We’re also in the process of obtaining accreditation for the course through larger teacher organizations so that it can be used to fulfill specific professional learning requirements of Australian educators.
We believe our course has succeeded for three reasons:
- We made it easy for the students to participate.
- The course was associated with the NCU, an official government division.
- We assigned small groups based on commonalities, such as profession and field.
1. Make it easy for the students to participate
Making it easy for students is of utmost importance in an online environment, especially if the course is targeted to people who may not be familiar with online learning. We know this may sound obvious, but it’s so important that it’s definitely worth mentioning and expounding on. If you don’t nail this, you’re not going to retain your students.
So how do you make it easy for the students? Have everything (eg, communication tools and assignment submission entrypoints) set up for them and support them to the nth degree. What this means: you have to put the time in before the course starts and you, as the course facilitator/organizer, must be very comfortable with the course layout and tools in order to be able to give ample support as well as troubleshoot when issues arise.
Tutorials for Tools
For our course, we had heaps of information on our P2PU course site (outlining essentially everything they’d need to get through the course), but we also created tutorials and sent out additional information through email on all the essential parts of the course (ie. using the discussion tool Disqus, submitting group assignments, leaving peer review, etc). We really wanted the students to feel supported and to answer questions and issues BEFORE they arose. It’s too easy to drop out of an online course, so we wanted to preemptively take care of as many issues as possible. We had one student state they were “very nervous and uncomfortable” to take an online course who later reported how great the course was set up and how easy it was in terms of knowing what to do and how to do it. It’s key students feel like this from the start of the course, or they won’t stick with it.
Tools we used
We used Google docs for our course. We had every group’s Google doc set up for every single week, and we linked to the docs from both the course on P2PU as well as in emails that we sent out every week. The weekly emails make it very clear what was expected of our learners as well as where to go to complete their tasks. See an example below:
We also sent out individual group chase-ups the Monday following a Sunday due date as well as a chase-up Wednesday following the peer review due date. See below for an example of this:
Its also very important to understand that the first two to three weeks are a bit rough for learners – they’re confused and they have lots of questions and issues. We received anywhere from 15 to 30 emails a week and at least five calls, asking general questions about the course, the platform, google docs, etc. We nearly always responded to these on the same day and offered as much support as needed. A quick response to a simple question can be the deciding factor between a learner getting frustrated and dropping out or being satisfied and feeling supported and staying in the course.
This initial confusion is also why we went with a two-week introduction period, and we think this really helps with the retention rate. It gave the learners a chance to ask questions, sort out their issues and concerns and get comfortable with the course, the platform, the collaboration tools, and their groups.
2. Associate a course with a known, respected entity
Our course was associated with the NCU of Australia, which is very well known and respected. We deal with teachers on a daily basis, and most of our NCU affiliated teachers/librarians were the first to sign up for the course and have been our biggest supporters and promoters.
In addition to past participants spreading the word, we promoted the course through our school connections in Australia – through teachers whom we’ve given advice, the Copyright Advisory Group (each State/Territory in Australia as well as each sector has a representative), teacher organizations, and our website (http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/) which is the official guide to copyright issues for Australian Schools and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions. Once we did our initial promotional blitz, the promotion largely took off on its own, making its way onto numerous listservs and teacher associations that we didn’t previously know existed.
So the association helped with the initial promotion of the course, but we also believe the reputation of the NCU encouraged teachers to sign up for the course: it made teachers feel more comfortable asking questions/contacting us, it decreased the numbers of dropouts, and we also found that many employers, such as school deans, required their teaching staff to take the course.
Incorporating the course into NCU’s daily workload also allowed us to quickly and effectively respond to questions/issues with the course.
3. Arrange groups to encourage conversation and cohesiveness
In the first week of the course, we only asked our learners to fill out a questionnaire and have a look around the course. With the information from the questionnaire, we created 15 groups of four. We also took group requests, which frequently came from teachers at the same school. If groups were not requested, we arranged groups based on school location, level and sector to encourage conversation and commonality between group members. In the second week of the course, we only asked our students to meet their group and to decide on how their group would collaborate. Group members got to know each other and supported each other over the course of the seven weeks, and we think this group cohesiveness really encouraged group members to stay committed to the group and the course (as well as have more fun!).
As an example, we had one student who was going to drop out because she needed to have surgery in the third week of the course, and she would be unable to type for a week or two. She consulted us, and we told her to first discuss the problem with her group to see if they could work something out. She did this, and they became somewhat of a support group for her and they worked out that she would lead discussion in the weeks leading up to her surgery (which they mainly did via email) and then the weeks she couldn’t type she participated via a weekly Skype session with her group.
We’ve also been told by a number of groups that they all plan to keep in touch with each other to discuss any copyright questions and what’s going on in their classrooms/schools.
Overall, we believe the course was very successful. Not only because of the retention rate but also because people enjoyed it! They’re telling others about the course, they learnt the information, and if they ever have any questions or issues they now know where to find the information.No Comments »
Geoscience Australia recently announced that it will license all images from the Landsat 8 satellite under CC BY. (Geoscience Australia is a partner of the United States Geological Survey in the Landsat program.)
The new Landsat 8 satellite is scheduled to be launched in early 2013, with GA’s full implementation being scheduled for May or June 2013.
Upon full implementation, which involves the deployment of major infrastructure upgrades by GA, data will be beamed from Landsat 8 on a daily basis to GA-operated ground stations in Alice Springs and Darwin. As soon as possible after receipt and processing, GA will make the satellite images publicly available free of charge.
GA will make the data available under a Creative Commons CC BY Australia 3.0 licence, which will facilitate legal reuse of the images.
GA is expecting a major upsurge in demand for the images when its free to air service is up and running. Jeff Kingwell, Section Leader of GA’s National Earth Observation Group, has indicated this prediction is based on the experience of its senior partner Geological Survey where there was a 1000 fold usage increase on commencement of its free to air service online. “Our experience is that using the Creative Commons Attribution Licence — which is the default licence for GA information — makes the data more useful and easier to apply. For example, to help the Indonesian government to monitor forest management, GA supplies Landsat data from a number of foreign data archives. Since we can apply the same licence conditions to each data source, the information is much more useful and easier to share and reuse.”
Here at Creative Commons, we applaud governments and intergovernmental organizations licensing their information and data under CC licenses (or the CC0 public domain waiver). Australia’s partnership with the United States in the Landsat program is a perfect example of why it’s important to use a license that’s open and internationally applicable.No Comments »
This is one for all those interested in the use of CC licences by archives, broadcasters or news organisations.
CC Australia has just announced that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s largest public broadcaster and news service, has used Wikimedia Commons to release a selection of historically significant television news stories under CC BY-SA.
Much of the material on Wikimedia has been released along with other archival material to celebrate the ABC’s 80th birthday as part of the 80 days that changed our lives website. However, this is just part of a broader Open Archives project by the ABC which has released hundreds of archival objects, encompassing audio, video and photographic material, including many more news and current affairs broadcasts, for reuse under CC licences. All of this builds on the ABC’s social media site, Pool, which has been working with the CC licences for some time and which we’ve written about before.
While other news broadcasters are also making material available under CC licences, what makes this project significant is that the news segments that have been released aren’t obscure archival material or raw footage, but rather polished stories broadcast by some of the ABC’s premier current affairs programs about major events in Australian history. It includes, for example, news reports on the Apollo 11 moon landings, the Azaria Chamberlain case, and the floating of the Australian currency. Not to mention this 1974 footage of Arthur C Clarke predicting the internet, with uncanny accuracy.
The release of the material via Wikimedia Commons will act to encourage its reuse on Wikipedia, like this report on the introduction of World Series Cricket. This in turn will expose it to a far broader audience than the ABC’s own website, and encourage its dissemination further. As Angela Clark, Director of ABC Innovation, says in the press release, “sharing content in this way not only makes more ABC content available to everyone, it also facilitates creativity and the possibility of new audiences for the footage.”
Wikimedia notes that this is “the first collection of broadcast “packaged” footage released to Wikimedia Commons under a free license,” aka CC BY-SA, the same license Wikipedia uses. We’d love to hear about any other similar uses to add to our Case Studies wiki.2 Comments »
Governments around the world are increasingly relying on open licenses to release public sector information (PSI). A September 2011 report titled Costs and Benefits of Data Provision, prepared by John Houghton for the Australian National Data Service, examines the immediate and wider economic costs and benefits to making PSI available.
The key takeaway from the study: “the direct and measurable benefits of making PSI available free and unrestrictedly typically outweigh the costs. When one adds the longer-term benefits that we cannot fully measure, cannot even foresee, the case for open access appears to be strong.”
The report offers an interesting and instructive analysis about the overarching cost-saving potential of making PSI available online for free and under open licenses (we assume the figures to represent Australian dollars):
[W]e find that the net cost to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) of making publications and statistics freely available online and adopting Creative Commons licensing was likely to have been around $3.5 million per annum at 2005-06 prices and levels of activity, but the immediate cost savings for users were likely to have been around $5 million per annum. The wider impacts in terms of additional use and uses bring substantial additional returns, with our estimates suggesting overall costs associated with free online access to ABS publications and data online and unrestrictive standard licensing of around $4.6 million per annum and measurable annualised benefits of perhaps $25 million (i.e. more than five times the costs).
The Houghton study suggests that open licensing is a key component to reducing friction in the downstream use of PSI:
It is not simply about access prices, but also about the transaction costs involved. Standardised and unrestrictive licensing, such as Creative Commons, and data standards are crucial in enabling access that is truly open (i.e. free, immediate and unrestricted) … The efficient economic solution for the dissemination of PSI is likely to be free libre and free gratis (i.e. making it freely available online and using unrestrictive licensing such as Creative Commons).
In a separate internal document noted in the report, the Australian Bureau of Statistics described the impact of adopting CC licensing. It says that CC licensing “meets public expectations with regard to open government, facilitates data sharing (including across government), allows for more timely reuse of statistics, facilitates innovation, [and] makes sense to a growing percentage of people who recognise and understand CC licence symbols and conditions.”
The study urges us to try to understand and foster the unpredictable yet potentially powerful innovation that can be unleashed when PSI is made freely available online and released using unrestrictive licenses:
In the longer term, there may also be unforeseen uses and re-uses that simply cannot be accounted for, and again this may mean that the costs and benefits experienced in the early years of implementation tend to understate the longer-term advantages. Use and re-use can also have wider impacts, in terms of innovation and the development and introduction of new products, services and processes that, in turn, generate new economic economic activity, new business opportunities, better informed and potentially better government and business decisions.
The full report is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.No Comments »
While we gear up for the CC Global Summit that is just a week away, governments around the world continue to open up their data and adopt policies for maximum transparency and citizen engagement.
Open government developments in Austria, New Zealand, and Australia
In Austria, the City of Vienna, along with the Chancellor’s Office and the Austrian cities of Linz, Salzburg and Graz, coordinated their activities to establish the Cooperation OGD (Open Government Data) Austria. In its first session, the group agreed to eight key points, the first of which was, "All public administration will be free under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), meaning it can be reused and shared for any purpose, with only attribution necessary.” Read more.
In New Zealand, the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs adopted a statement detailing a new Declaration on Open and Transparent Government that directs, encourages, and invites various departments, state services agencies, and state sector agencies to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and Principles, and in accordance with the NZGOAL Review and Release process. Read more.
In Australia, AusGOAL, the nationally endorsed Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework, recommends the suite of CC licenses for copyrighted material and the CC Public Domain Mark for non-copyrighted material. Read more. CC Korea also recently translated the excellent Australia Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report to further open government in their own region.
In other news:
- $20,000 is available via the Open Textbook Challenge by the Saylor Foundation. If a textbook is submitted and accepted for use with Saylor.org's course materials, then the copyright holders receive $20,000 while the referrer receives $250.
- Our affiliates in Europe have published a new dossier on the EU sound recording copyright extension.
- We also filed brief comments for the EC consultation on scientific information in the digital age.
- In response to the Moore Foundation's call for community feedback, we developed this idea on Data Governance. We hope you participate and vote, and not just on our idea — participation in processes like this is a great way to increase their usage by foundations in making funding choices that can benefit the commons.
- The Technical Working Group is underway for the Learning Metadata Resource Initiative (LRMI). EdTechMag recently covered LRMI in this great article. To learn more, sign up for the first in a series of webinars on LRMI.
- We documented the present state of CC licensing options in a summary on CC Labs.
- And we updated our Kickstarter page with a couple new CC licensed projects seeking sustenance. Check it out, and let us know if you are using CC for a project with an upcoming deadline.
In the past few months, the Australasian region has seen several developments building on their commitments to open government.
Last week in New Zealand, the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs adopted a statement detailing a new Declaration on Open and Transparent Government. The Declaration has been approved by Cabinet, and directs all Public Service departments, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service; encourages other State Services agencies; and invites State Sector agencies to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and Principles, and in accordance with the NZGOAL Review and Release process. More information on this statement can be found at the CC Aotearoa New Zealand blog.
NZGOAL, the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, is administered by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand, and is a guide for those using the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, which “recommends the Creative Commons BY licence as a default licence when releasing government held content and data for reuse.” NZGOAL is under a default CC BY license. Success stories of implementation via this framework are documented at opendatastories.org.
Meanwhile, AusGOAL, the Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework is nationally endorsed and administered by the Cross-Jurisdictional Chief Information Officers Committee, and “provides support and guidance to government and related sectors to facilitate open access to publicly funded information.” AusGOAL is also under a default CC BY license, while recommending the suite of CC licenses for copyrighted material and the CC Public Domain Mark for non-copyrighted material.
Much of this has already been roughly documented on our wiki page, Government use of Creative Commons. Please feel free to add to this page any missing use cases or details as they come up.
Lastly, we would like to leave you with another relatively recent development by CC New Zealand — this fun animation video explaining the CC licenses called, Creative Commons Kiwi.No Comments »
David Bollier writes in Viral Spiral, “Governments are coming to realize that they are one of the primary stewards of intellectual property, and that the wide dissemination of their work—statistics, research, reports, legislation, judicial decisions—can stimulate economic innovation, scientific progress, education, and cultural development” (192). The collection, creation and publishing of data has been increasingly central to government transparency and interaction with the public. Governments release datasets on census information, weather and geospatial data, food safety and product recall information, and data on foreign commerce and economic aid. In the United States there is now over 300,000 datasets made available to the public for consumption and innovative reuse via website mashups, mobile applications, and other uses.
Earlier this week open data and open government advocates gathered at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. for the first International Open Government Data Conference. The purpose of the conference was “to gather the community of data owners, developers and policy makers from around the globe to share lessons learned, stimulate new ideas, and demonstrate the power of democratizing data.” The conference hosted a wide variety of speakers, including U.S. leaders like Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Director of the Open Government Initiative Beth Noveck. There was also substantial international participation, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the W3C and founder of the World Wide Web. Of particular interest to Creative Commons was the participation by Keitha Booth and Richard Best from New Zealand and Anne Fitzgerald and Trevor Smallwood from Australia. New Zealand and Australia have been leaders in using Creative Commons tools in sharing government information and datasets.
The open government movement has been building around the world. In the United States, the most recent catalyst of this work grew out of President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, which described the overarching principles for government operation: transparency, participation, and collaboration. Obama’s memo lead to the development of the Open Government Directive, charging government agencies to 1) publish government information online, 2) improve the quality of government information, 3) create and institutionalize a culture of open government, and 4) create an enabling policy framework for open government. The United States government efforts are collectively called the Open Government Initiative. Open government data initiatives hinge on the theory that government data should be made available to the taxpayers who paid for its creation.
New Zealand presentations
Keitha Booth is the Program Leader of the Open Government Information and Data Programme in New Zealand. She talked about the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, or NZGOAL, for short. NZGOAL was developed as a solution to some of the problems the government encountered in sharing its information. NZGOAL recommends the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license by default for works under Crown Copyright and also incorporates “no-known rights” statements for materials free of copyright. Keitha also talked about data.govt.nz, a directory of publicly-available, non-personal New Zealand government datasets. That site is licensed CC BY.
Richard Best, New Zealand Solicitor of Government Technology Services in the Department of Internal Affairs, spoke about the process behind the adoption of NZGOAL. Through consultation with various agencies, Richard discovered that policymakers and staff needed guidance on key aspects of copyright and wanted explicit procedures about how to implement the open licensing framework. He described that while the NZGOAL policies are not mandatory, cabinets and agencies must familiarize themselves with the process. Richard mentioned that while NZGOAL default license is CC BY, other Creative Commons licenses are allowed as long as agencies can justify the additional licensing conditions.
Anne Fitzgerald is Professor in Law Research at the Queensland University of Technology Law School. Anne spoke about the importance of managing rights in the process of opening up government data, and described how the Australian government leverages Creative Commons licensing in its open government framework. At the outset, Anne noted a key distinction between Australian and U.S. law. While works created by the United States Government are free of copyright restrictions within the U.S., the Australian government asserts Crown Copyright over the works it creates. This applies to informational works, research reports and databases, cultural materials, and other public sector information (PSI). Professor Fitzgerald said that the advantages of using Creative Commons licenses are aligned with the government’s recognition of copyright in the materials it creates, while at the same time supporting its open access policy objectives and avoiding financial and technical locks around taxpayer-funded resources.
Trevor Smallwood, Assistant Secretary of Cyber-Security in the Australian Government Information Management Office, spoke about some of the open government and open data initiatives in Australia that leverage Creative Commons licensing. For instance, the Australian Department of Finance and Deregulation releases the budget, government briefs, and data.gov.au content under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Other initiatives such as the Polar Information Commons, Department of Broadband, and Australian Parliament use open licensing too.
Keitha and Trevor’s presentation slides can be downloaded at the conference site or directly (PDF) here. Anne’s presentation slides can be downloaded at the conference site or directly (PDF) here. Richard’s presentation is available here.
We’ve been reporting on how governments have been demonstrating leadership in openness with Creative Commons. In addition to the New Zealand and Australia projects mentioned above, we’ve been collecting other examples on our wiki of how countries and intergovernmental organizations are adopting open licensing and public domain tools to provide increased access to government information and other public sector information. If you know of other initiatives, please add them to this wiki page.No Comments »
Creative Commons Australia is putting their annual conference on wheels. Previously, the national meet-ups were held at the project’s home base in Brisbane. Now the team is hitting the road and taking the event to cities across the country.
Each CC Roadshow is designed for those interested in finding out about CC for the first time, looking for an update on recent developments, the Australian Version 3.0 licenses, or just wanting to know how CC is being used by people in their local area.
Six cities are already mapped on the itinerary, and the team wants to involve as many members of the local community as possible. CC champions across the country are sought to develop the program. If you are a musician, filmmaker, policy maker, photographer, educator, lecturer, librarian or anyone else for that matter, and you’re using Creative Commons, CC Australia wants to hear from you.
This is a great initiative, and we can’t wait to follow the show from Perth to Hobart — no doubt encountering plenty of inspiring people, engaging discussions, and Big Things along the way!
2 Comments »
Our CC jurisdiction teams are always hard at work on critical license maintenance and version upgrades. Currently, many of these talented local teams are adapting Version 3.0, released February 2007, to the laws and languages of more than 70 jurisdictions around the globe. Joining the jurisdictions that offer licenses at 3.0 is Creative Commons Australia, whose versioning process revealed important insights into the licenses and suggestions for future versions.
The Australian licenses already have their first significant adopter, the Australian Parliament. The Parliament’s central web portal http://www.aph.gov.au houses the most important documents of the Australian Federal Government including all bills, committee reports and, most importantly, the Hansard transcript of Parliamentary Sittings, and the portal will be published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Version 3.0 Australian license.
Thanks so much to the CC Australia team, headed by Professor Brian Fitzgerald and Tom Cochrane and coordinated by Jessica Coates and Elliott Bledsoe at Queensland University of Technology, for their diligence and input. Congratulations!
From CC Australia:
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The Australian v3.0 licences…have been developed over the last few years via a public consultation process. We thank all of those who provided feedback on the licences, particularly our colleagues at CC Aoteoroa New Zealand and within the Australian government and non-profit sectors.
Our main aims during the Australian v3.0 drafting process were to ensure that the new licences:
- complied with Australian legal requirements and conventions;
- aligned with the rights and restrictions of the Unported (ie non-country specific) licences provided by Creative Commons; and
- were clear and easy for creators and users alike to read and understand.
Based on these aims, we made the following changes to the licences:
- adapting the Unported formatting and language to bring them more in line with Australian law and drafting conventions – mainly by using localised definitions and introducing lists and headings;
- simplifying some of the language, where this would not affect the legal interpretation of the licence – many of these simplifications were adopted from the recent version put together by our friends in New Zealand;
- a few minor additions to clarify the operation of the licences in the Australian context, in response to feedback from our consultation process – these included clarifying how the licences operate with respect to sublicensing and adding language to ensure that the licences comply with the requirements of Australian consumer protection law.
We are happy to release these licences, which we believe provide clear, reasonable and legally sound options for creators and users alike and represent a new best practice standard for the CC licences in Australia. If you would like any more information about the licences please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the versioning process contact the Creative Commons head office.
The UK government recently made a splash with its move towards opening government data. Now CC Australia’s Jessica Coates shares a promising government initiative in her home country. The Victorian Government has become the first Australian government to commit to using Creative Commons as the default licensing system for its public sector information (PSI). Many of its reports and other works will use CC BY, which she explains is becoming the preferred license for Australian PSI.
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The commitment is part of the Government’s response to its Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee’s Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data, which recommended that the Victorian Government adopt a “hybrid public sector information licensing model comprising Creative Commons and a tailored suite of licences for restricted materials.”
Specifically, the response (which is under CC BY-NC-ND) states at p.8 that:
he Victorian Government endorses the committee’s overarching recommendation that the default position for the management of PSI should be open access. The Victorian Government further commits to the development of a whole-of-government Information Management Framework (IMF) whereby PSI is made available under Creative Commons licensing by default with a tailored suite of licences for restricted materials.
As far as we are aware, this is the strongest commitment to Creative Commons implementation made by any Australian government. While there have been a number of excellent CC-friendly recommendations coming out of recent government inquiries – notably the Government 2.0 and Venturous Australia reports – these are yet to be officially adopted. And while there are some excellent implementation projects – the Victorian Government specifically mentions the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Queensland’s Government Information Licensing Framework – these are still limited to individual agencies.
We’ll be very excited to see where the Victorian goes from here.