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Digital Composing Resources

DWOC Hardware for Checkout at the KHIC Library Circulation Desk

The DWOC Studio makes available video and audio equipment to the Mount Union community. Most hardware is released for three days at a time and can be renewed with special permission from the director.

Point-and-Shoot Sony Digital Cameras and Mini Tripods

These easy-to-use digital still and video cameras come with a small tripod to help keep your video steady. These cameras are ideal when you need to film a presentation for class, when you want to interview someone in a quiet environment, or for capturing still images. These cameras produce MP4 videos--no need to convert file formats! You must provide your own SD card.

Sony Digital Camera How-to Video

Canon VIXIA Camcorders and Full-Sized SLIK Tripod   

Our Canon camcorders offer better on-board microphones and higher quality images than our point-and-shoot cameras, as well as a full-sized tripod. Checking out a camcorder is a good choice when you are planning to film under noisy conditions. This camera includes built-in recording features like filters and the ability to film slow-motion shots. You must provide your own SD card.

Canon VIXIA Camcorder How-to Video Coming Soon

Zoom H4n Digital Field Recorders

The Zoom recorders allow you the freedom to record professional-quality sound in many situations such as at a concert, interviews where using a microphone connected to a laptop is impractical, or when you want to capture sound outdoors. The Zooms can be used to record high-quality sound that can later be synced with a video or other media. Each Zoom comes with two sets of rechargeable batteries, a windscreen, and a mini-tripod to reduce handling noise. You must provide your own SD card — Be sure to back up your files BEFORE using an SD in a Zoom, as discs must be formatted (erased) before they can be used to record sound.

Zoom H4n How-to Video

Snowball Blue iCE Microphone

Snowball mics are popular with podcasters, livestreamers, voice actors and those who just need to record high-quality voiceover narration for a video project. This mic plugs directly into your laptop through a USB cable. Simply enable the mic in your computer’s settings and you will be ready to record.

Snowball Blue iCE Microphone How-to Video

Copyright, Plagiarism and Fair Use

The DWOC Studio supports the Mount Union community in the creation of digital, multimodal projects. Composing with the intent to publish online is exciting, but it poses challenges different from those you will face when writing a traditional term paper. It’s important to understand the difference between copyright (a violation of law) and plagiarism (a violation of ethics), and to understand the limits of fair use, especially if you will post your work online where copyright holders may find it and challenge the use of their work in your published piece.

Copyright, Copyleft, and Fair Use

This Hoonuit module, available by subscription to Mount Union students and faculty, takes you through just about everything you need to know about copyright and how it is likely to affect you as a student creating works to be shared in class, online, and on social media.

Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student

This infographic, published by the Association of Research Librarians, is touched on in the Hoonuit module above. It demonstrates just how much college students rely on fair use in their academic and personal lives and is a brief guide to how fair use works.

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week Resources

Need even more up-to-date guidance on fair use? Check out this website maintained by the Association of Research Librarians and its partners and find out what’s new in the world of fair use and fair dealing.

The Public Domain  

What does it mean when something is said to be in the public domain? Depending on the country of a work’s origin, the definition of “public domain” may differ. Works created before 1923 in the United States are in the public domain, meaning that the creator’s copyright has expired.  Check out the Public Domain resource in Stanford University Library’s Copyright and Fair Use Guide, to find out what does and doesn’t belong in the public domain.

Assets for Digital Composing

Need some background music for a video project? What about images you can use to make your PowerPoint or website look stunning? While nothing published except materials that are in the public domain can be said to be “copyright free” and therefore free for you to use in any way that you wish, an enormous number of assets (images, sounds, music, etc.) are available through databases and search engines online that are licensed for you to use in a variety of ways.

Disclaimer: If you publish your finished piece online or elsewhere, it is important to do research and find out:

  1. Whether your use of the material would constitute fair use
  2. Whether an asset is actually in the public domain
  3. Whether it has been appropriately licensed for your intended use by the actual creator

In other words, don’t assume that because you found a piece in a database of public domain images or just because a website states that a piece is licenced for unrestricted use that it actually is safe to use. When you publish, it is your responsibility to do further research to find out if you are really “all clear” to use a piece in your own creative work.

Public Domain Resources

Public Domain Sherpa

This site is owned by a copyright attorney and contains much information on the concept of the public domain as well as dozens of collections and databases of material from publishers ranging from the Agricultural Research Service to NASA.

Washington State University Marketing and Communications’ List Public Domain Resources

This helpful list of databases will help you find books, images, photographs, videos, and sheet music that are in the public domain. Again, use caution. Find out if what you want to use is actually in the public domain if you plan to publish.

British Library Flickr Galleries of Images in the Public Domain

The British Library’s Flickr account contains millions of images that fall into the public domain, many of them from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. If you are looking for an unusual, striking historical image, this may be a good place to start.

Licenced Material

Creative Commons (CC)

There are many myths about what CC is and what it does. It is NOT true that anything you find using CC is free for you to use any way you like. Instead, CC provides licensing labels that clearly state what rights creators have reserved for their work. Some creators reserve all rights, meaning that they want to project to the world that they do not wish for others to use their work unless their permission is sought and obtained. Some creators reserve some rights, such as wanting to be credited when their work is used, or disallowing commercial use of their work. Still others deed their work to the public domain, reserving no rights, and allowing anyone to use their work in any way they choose. Learn more about how to read CC licenses and then check out their new beta search engine. The new search engine makes creating attribution easy. Learn more about how to attribute CC material here.

CC List of Sites for Music

Finding music licensed appropriately for use in videos, podcasts, and other digital projects can be tough. Using too much of a song can result in a take down notice or legal action by musicians or publishers if they have reserved all of their rights. This site gives you information on how to find music licensed appropriately for your needs.


From the Musical Technology Group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, Freesound is a collection of “audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps” that have all been released under Creative Commons licenses to allow their reuse. Find out how to properly attribute sounds before you use them.

The Sonic Dictionary

The Sonic Dictionary, a collaboration between Duke University and several others, allows you to search sounds from A-Z and use them in your projects with appropriate attribution.

Other Digital Composing Resources

Web Writing Style Guide

This open source textbook will help you understand how to write in different online contexts, from laying out a website and writing copy to optimizing your content so that search engines can find it and suggest it to searchers.