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Walters Art Museum goes CC0

Sarah Stierch - July 30, 2015 in Featured, News

In 2012, the Walters Art Museum, in Baltimore, Maryland, became one of the first American cultural institutions to adopt an open license model for their digitized collections. Using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license, they released over 18,000 images into the OpenGLAM world. These images were not only available via the Walters website, but, also on Wikimedia Commons.

Since their uploads to Wikimedia, the images have been used in over 4,098 Wikimedia project pages, including Wikipedia articles in over 50 languages. In June 2015, those pages were viewed over 8.4 million times!

While those numbers are impressive, today marks yet another milestone for OpenGLAM: The Walters Art Museum has released their digitized images and metadata under a CC0 license.

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Let’s get this party started! Walters goes CC0!! (“Merry Company” by Jan van Bijlert, ca. 1630)

You can see their updated statement on their website here and access their metadata via their API. Finally, you can see their statement on their Rights & Reproductions page here. Now, we are in the process of updating the licensing on Wikimedia Commons.

By releasing their metadata and images under a CC0 license, the Walters has made an unprecedented move in the United States GLAM world. The Walters is a museum that celebrates its collection as being a part of the public trust – a collection that is made as accessible as possible to the public. Their collection was donated to the City of Baltimore and is practically “owned” by the people.

The museum has no admission fees and encourages creative reuse of their collection through innovative events such as annual hack-a-thons, which are implemented with support from Wikimedia District of Columbia. For online visitors, they encourage interaction between the visitor, the staff and the artwork. Online visitors are encouraged to email curatorial staff with questions and have the ability to download images for free, create their own online collection and tag artworks for discovery by other online visitors.

A big “Huzzah!” to the Walters Art Museum and their tireless staff and board of directors, for helping to make this a reality.

Special thanks to Dylan Kinnett, Manager of Web and Social Media at the Walters. Kinnett has been working with myself and OpenGLAM volunteers, since 2011, to help make the Walters Art Museum’s collection one of the most accessible on earth.

 

Dutch cultural heritage reaches millions every month

Maarten Brinkerink - June 23, 2015 in Case Studies, Featured, News

The cultural sector increasingly makes its collections available as open data and open content. These types of initiatives bring along the growing need of measuring their impact. On either a national or international level, there currently is no single body that tracks this type of data across collections. In 2014, the Open Culture Data network therefore started an exploratory research project on the (im-)possibilities of measuring the impact of open cultural data. The project was called GLAMetrics – metrics for gallery, library, archive and museum collections.

Image: Een menigte aanschouwt een komeet door Jan Luyken (1698) Collection: Amsterdam Museum, CC-0.

Image: Een menigte aanschouwt een komeet door Jan Luyken (1698)
Collection: Amsterdam Museum, CC-0.

This initiative meant the beginning of a quantitative analysis of the consequences of opening cultural data – an evolution that affects the entire sector, both nationally and on an international level. This blog post presents the initial outcomes of our research into the reach and reuse of culture heritage from The Netherlands through Wikimedia projects.

Wikimedia projects are the different projects that come out of the Wikimedia community. Among them we find the different language versions of Wikipedia – such as en.wikipedia.org and nl.wikipedia.org – and projects such as WikiSource and WikiData.

Methodology

In order to be reusable within Wikimedia projects, open culture data sets need to be published as open content on the media repository Wikimedia Commons. In October 2014 we set up and distributed a survey to all members of the Open Culture Data network to inventorise which of their open culture data had been added to Wikimedia Commons.

Thirty representatives from institutions in the network filled out this survey. Eleven respondents currently have one or multiple open culture data sets on Wikimedia. Three institutions indicated they’re currently working on their first publication.

Subsequentially, we collaborated with Wikimedia Netherlands to complete, as far as possible, the overview of Dutch cultural institutions on Wikimedia.

Wikimedia offers various publicly available instruments to gather data on the reach and reuse of materials within the various Wikimedia projects. From November 2014 onwards, Open Culture Data has applied these measurement instruments for Dutch institutions on Wikimedia Commons. More specifically, we used the tools BaGLAMa 2 and GLAMorous, both created by Magnus Manske.

  • BaGLAMa 2 shows on which Wikimedia project pages content from Wikimedia Commons is being reused and how often these pages are requested.
  • GLAMorous shows per set or collection how much material is available for reuse and how often this happens.

As a sidenote to these instruments: Wikimedia doesn’t currently measure mobile traffic well. Wikimedia also doesn’t discern between page consultations by visitors or by machines – such as search engines that perform indexing. According to estimates this constitutes up to 15% of all traffic. Also, Open Culture Data was not able to de-duplicate Wikimedia project pages that use materials from more than one institution. Our assumption is that these two deviations cancel each other out and result in the numbers not being lower than what’s mentioned below. It is our expectation that Wikimedia will share more data about reach and reuse in the future, such as anonimised data about user behaviour on the pages that use Dutch heritage content. This would give us a better insight into how much time and attention users spend on consulting specific heritage objects.

Preliminary outcomes

From November 2014 onwards (the moment we started recording data) there were 23 Dutch heritage institutions who provided one or multiple collections for reuse in Wikimedia projects by publishing them on Wikimedia Commons.

Some institutions have had a presence on Wikimedia for only a few months: the Catharijneconvent museum joined in February as the 24th institution and the Textielmuseum in April as the 25th. At the same time, the first Dutch institution on Wikimedia Commons, the Tropenmuseum, has been providing content for reuse for more than 56 months.

To date, close to 580,000 Dutch digital heritage objects have been added to Wikimedia Commons. This means that from the total collection of media items on Wikimedia Commons – close to 24.5 million - around 2.4% consists of Dutch digital heritage. The large majority of this Dutch offer are images, but it also holds close to 2,000 audio recordings and 4,500 videos.

Thanks to GLAMetrics we now know quite a bit more about the reach and reuse of these materials:

  • In the first quarter of 2015 the objects of these institutions were used on approximately 76,000 Wikimedia project pages. During the observed quarter, this number has grown by about 2.5%.
  • In the first quarter of 2015, these pages were requested more than 200 million times, or approx. 67.5 million consultations per month. The Wikimedia projects together receive approximately 20.5 billion consultations per month, so the portion of pages using Dutch heritage is approximately 0.3%.
  • These pages together reuse close to 37.500 unique objects, or close to 7% of the total offer.
  • In total, Dutch digital heritage objects have been reused close to 100.000 times on a Wikimedia project page.

For the entire measurement period, Wikimedia also offers data about the number of consultations for the pages that contain selected objects. Although not each and every Dutch heritage collection has been measured from its point of origin onwards (the difference ranges from just a few to an impressive 56 months), the outcome already is quite impressive: pages reusing Dutch digital heritage have been consulted 1.9 billion times in total!

GLAM expectations

Around 7% of the total combined total of Dutch digital heritage objects on Wikipedia is currently being used on one or several Wikimedia project pages. Based on the assembled data we can pronounce a few preliminary statements for institutions that are considering opening up (part of) their collections via Wikimedia Commons.

  • Reuse differs among collections. For some collections we see that up to 50% is being reused, while others experience no reuse at all. Especially in the initial phases a reuse total of 7% appears to be a realistic expectation for digital heritage.
  • For these 7% of reused materials, for each digital object one can expect a reach of more than 2.100 consultations per month. On a yearly basis, this translates into 25.000 consultations per object.
  • The exact impact is influenced by the extent to which the institution stimulates reuse by communicating with the community and organising activities.
  • Based on the above, an institution can, with a donation of 1.000 objects, expect a monthly reach of up to 150.000 consultations of pages holding their materials.

Follow-up

As a follow-up on this first blog post, we intend to give quarterly updates on how the reach and reuse of Dutch cultural heritage materials on the various Wikimedia projects develops. We also hope to present increasingly broad outcomes as we gather more data along the way.

We’ll investigate if we can gather data from older collections on Wikimedia retroactively to identify developments on the middle and long term. We also aim to compare the use on different Wikipedia language versions and other Wikimedia projects and to measure what percentage of the totality of Wikipedia is being enriched with Dutch digital heritage. Finally, we aim to study the influence of activities around content donations or heritage institutions to Wikimedia on reuse (as, for instance, organising edit-a-thons).

In accordance with Open Culture Data’s vision, all the data assembled for this investigation have been made available for reuse under a CC-0 license.

We are highly interested to hear your feedback, suggestions or further analyses!

Colophon

Written by Maarten Brinkerink (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) with thanks to Lotte Belice Baltussen, Jesse de Vos, Kennisland‘s Maarten Zeinstra and Open State Foundation‘s Tom Kunzler for their suggestions.

This post originally appeared on the Open Cultuur Data blog in Dutch and was translated to English by Erwin Verbruggen.

More info

For more info about the Open Culture Data initiative, see:

OpenGLAM Open Collections

Lieke Ploeger - June 11, 2015 in eSpace, Featured, News

With the rise of the open movement, more and more cultural institutions are providing online access to their content and allow digital resources to be freely reused. Libraries, archives and museums publish their collections through their own websites and can make it findable through portals such as Europeana and DPLA as well. Through our OpenGLAM Open Collections page, we provide a global and curated overview of all this open cultural content online.

opencoll_home

 

Our Open Collections page collates details of open collections from around the world that provide digital scans or photos that can be freely used without any restrictions. We also include links to resources that aggregate open cultural data collections together in a central repository, such as Europeana and DPLA (under ‘Lists of collections’). We have just completed a restyle of the page: it is now delivered through the wonderful Omeka software platform. This means you easily search, locate collections on a map, comment on or tag collections. Searching by tag allows you to quickly look for material that fits your purpose. You can either visit the page through the OpenGLAM site, or directly through http://open-collections.okfn.org/.

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When we call these collections open, we mean they are licensed in a way that is compliant with the Open Definition. Popular ones for data include CC-0 and for content CC-BY or CC-BY-SA are often used. A part of the collections fully meet our OpenGLAM principles, for OpenGLAM_badgeofapprovalexample by keeping works for which copyright has expired in the public domain by not adding new rights to them. These collections have been awarded the OpenGLAM Badge of Approval: you can find an overview of them here: http://open-collections.okfn.org/exhibits/show/open/badge.

Contribute

Currently we have 53 open collections and 9 lists of open collections in our database. We’re quite sure that there is a lot more open collections out there, and we would love to add them with your help. If you know of an open collection that should be in here, you can sign up for our Omeka platform through this link, and then fill in the form on the Contribute page for your open collection to be added.

When a collection has been featured in our Curator’s Choice series, this blog has been linked to the collection in Omeka. When you contribute a new collection and are interested in having a Curator’s Choice’ post written about it, you can then let us know by ticking a box, so it can be considered for a future post.

Future work

The work on the Open Collections page will be further expanded on through the work Open Knowledge is carrying out within the Europeana Space project. Open Knowledge will provide the Open Content Exchange Platform, with collated public domain and open content materials related to the value of digital public domain and best practices around open licensing. This platform will also be delivered using Omeka: a first version will be online soon.

 

Photomediations: An Open Book

Joanna Zylinska - May 11, 2015 in eSpace, Featured, News

The Europeana Space project aims to create new opportunities for employment and economic growth within the creative industries sector based on Europe’s rich digital cultural resources. As part of this, pilots within six thematic areas (TV, Photography, Dance, Games, Open and Hybrid Publishing, Museums) explore different scenarios for the re-use of digital cultural content, with a special focus on the re-use of the content accessible via Europeana.

The team from the Open and Hybrid Publishing pilot are pleased to announce the launch of Photomediations: An Open Book. The pilot redesigns a coffee-table book as an online experience to produce a creative resource that explores the dynamic relationship between photography and other media. Photomediations: An Open Book uses open (libre) content, drawn from various online repositories (Europeana, Wikipedia Commons, Flickr Commons) and tagged with the CC-BY licence and other open licences. In this way, the book showcases the possibility of the creative reuse of image-based digital resources.

Through a comprehensive introduction and four specially commissioned chapters on light, movement, hybridity and networks that include over 200 images, Photomediations: An Open Book tells a unique story about the relationship between photography and other media. The book’s four main chapters are followed by three ‘open’ chapters, which will be populated with further content over the next 18 months. The three open chapters are made up of a social space, an online exhibition and an open reader. A version of the reader, featuring academic and curatorial texts on photomediations, will be published in a stand-alone book form later in 2015, in collaboration with Open Humanities Press.

Blog image Photomediations: An Open Book’s online form allows for easy sharing of its content with educators, students, publishers, museums and galleries, as well as any other interested parties. Promoting the socially significant issues of ‘open access’, ‘open scholarship’ and ‘open education’, the project also explores a low-cost hybrid publishing model as an alternative to the increasingly threatened traditional publishing structures.

Photomediations: An Open Book is a collaboration between academics from Goldsmiths, University of London, and Coventry University. Apart from being part of Europeana Space, it is also a sister project to the curated online site Photomediations Machine: http://photomediationsmachine.net

Project team: Professor Joanna Zylinska, Dr Kamila Kuc, Jonathan Shaw, Ross Varney, Dr Michael Wamposzyc. Project advisor: Professor Gary Hall.

UN recommends open licensing for promoting cultural participation

Lieke Ploeger - February 19, 2015 in Featured, News

220px-UN_emblem_blue.svgIn a recent United Nations report ‘Copyright policy and the right to science and culture’, the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, encourages the use of open licenses for the promotion of cultural and scientific participation. The report discusses copyright law and policy in relation to the human right to science and culture and was written following a round of expert meetings and consultations with stakeholders.

In the section on Copyright policy and cultural participation, the Special Rapporteur proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations (also on an international scale) and, most importantly for OpenGLAM, stresses the importance of open licensing as an essential copyright tool for expanding cultural participation and building a ‘cultural commons’ in which everyone can access, share and recombine cultural works. From the conclusion:

The human rights perspective focuses attention on important themes that may be lost when copyright is treated primarily in terms of trade: the social function and human dimension of intellectual property, the public interests at stake, the importance of transparency and public participation in policymaking, the need to design copyright rules to genuinely benefit human authors, the importance of broad diffusion and cultural freedom, the importance of not-for-profit cultural production and innovation, and the special consideration for the impact of copyright law upon marginalised or vulnerable groups.

Some relevant passages around open licensing are marked in the image below (with thanks to @mpedson):

UN_highlighted

The report was sent to the Human Right Council as input for their session in March 2015: the full version is available here.

Over 25,000 early English books released into the public domain

Lieke Ploeger - January 29, 2015 in Featured, News, Public Domain

Since January 2015 over 25,000 early English texts from 1473-1700 have been released online to members of the public under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication through the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP). Since 2000, the university libraries of Michigan and Oxford and ProQuest have been working together in this initiative to create electronic text versions of early printed books from ProQuest’s Early English Books Online, Gale Cengage’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online, and Readex’s Evans Early American Imprints. goe_image-sm-2

While these texts were previously only available to users of academic libraries participating in the partnership, at the end of the first phase of EEBO-TCP the current 25,000 texts have now been released into the public domain. They include highlights such as first printed editions of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton, but also a wide variety of lesser known texts on topics ranging from sword fighting to witchcraft and gardening manuals. Users can not only browse and read through the text of these early English books, but also search through the entire corpus (which consists of two million pages and nearly a billion words). Searching for keywords and themes is possible as well because the text has been encoded with Extensible Markup Language (XML). An additional 40,000 texts will be released into the public domain by 2020.

Connected with this release, The Bodleian Libraries are hosting the Early English Books Hackfest in Oxford on 9 March 2015. The event encourages students, researchers from all disciplines, and members of the public with an interest in the intersection between technology, history and literature to work together to develop a project using the texts and the data they may generate.

More information about the release is available through the Bodleian Libraries website: registration for the hackday is possible through Eventbrite.

DPLA: New Strategic Plan

Lieke Ploeger - January 8, 2015 in Featured, News, Uncategorized

horizontal_logo_blue_withoutWhiteBackgroundThis week the DPLA (Digital Public Library of America) published its Strategic Plan, which details the organisation’s goals for the period 2015-2017. DPLA brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage sites, and making them freely available to students, teachers, researchers, and the general public. Since the start in 2013, nearly 8,5 million items are now available through the DPLA portal.

The Strategic Plan formulates several priorities for the organisation, such as increasing the amount of content hubs throughout the USA, enhancing and improving metadata, streamlining rights statements (bringing the current 26.000 different rights statements down to 15-20 total), improving the technical infrastructure and increasing use of the DPLA portal and platform through increased dissemination efforts. As part of this, DPLA will be organising a yearly public event called DPLAfest: the 2015 edition takes place on 17-18 April in Indianapolis.

The full plan and an introduction to it by director Dan Cohen are available from http://dp.la/info/2015/01/07/whats-ahead-for-dpla-our-new-strategic-plan/

 

 

The Dowse Art Museum goes Wikipedia

Courtney Johnston - December 5, 2014 in Featured, Guest Blog Post, News, Projects

During the next two months, The Dowse Art Museum in New Zealand will be running a new Wikipedia project designed to increase the profile of New Zealand craft artists and history. In this guest blogpost, director Courtney Johnston shares more information on this project and why Wikipedia is so important for museums.

Contemporary research into any topic begins today on the internet. However, when searching for information about New Zealand craft artists – historical and contemporary – online researchers are likely to be met by a gaping hole rather a wealth of information. I’m delighted to announce that The Dowse Art Museum, with financial support from Ngā Taonga a Hine-te-iwa-iwa A Treasury of New Zealand Craft Resources, is addressing this problem with an innovative Wikipedia project. The core aim of the project is to increase the amount of accurate and up to date information about New Zealand craft artists available online.

In the next two months we are employing two Wikipedia researchers who will research and write entries for approximately 100 New Zealand craft and applied art practitioners. Our Wikipedia researchers will also identify and copyright clear and digitise primary resource material (e.g. book chapters, exhibition catalogues and journal articles) to support the entries.

Visitors at the The Dowse Art Museum. Photographer Mark Tantrum, courtesy of The Dowse Art Museum, New Zealand

Visitors at the The Dowse Art Museum. Photographer Mark Tantrum, courtesy of The Dowse Art Museum, New Zealand

Why Wikipedia?

Since launching in 2001, Wikipedia has become the starting point for almost anyone with an internet connection and a research question. Museums have recognised that Wikipedia is now an important discovery place for their collections, their history, and information about artists they represent.

This recognition comes in many forms. For example, a number of institutions from around the world – from the British Museum to the Palace of Versailles to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery – have hosted a ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ in which a researcher familiar with Wikipedia is hosted by the institution to create entries, release material under open licences, and raise interest in the institution amongst Wikipedia contributors and users.

The Brooklyn Museum is regarded as a world-leader among cultural institutions harnessing the power of Wikipedia’s strong community of writers and editors and vast audience of readers and researchers. For example, in 2010 the Museum opted instead of printing a traditional catalogue to accompany the exhibition Seductive Subversion, curated to bring attention to lesser-known female Pop artists, to invest their energy in writing Wikipedia pages for each artist.

Preliminary research by Museum staff showed that these artists were very under-represented on Wikipedia. They argued “To get the research into the hands of the biggest audience possible, updating Wikipedia made the most sense. After all, more people go there for information than any other source, so why not take the information we have and make a contribution where it will count?”

We have identified that there is a paucity of information about New Zealand craft artists – historical and contemporary – online. A quick Wikipedia search reveals no entries for established artists such as Warwick Freeman, John Edgar, Alan Preston, Emma Camden, Donn Salt, Gordon Crook, or Malcolm Harrison. Others such as Ilse von RandowPatricia PerrinDame Rangimarie Hetet and Ida Mary Lough have ‘stub’ entries – a sentence or two drawn from official sources. These are significant figures in our cultural history and while there is information about all scattered around the web, no central collating point.

One option for improving this lack of information would have been for us to write and add these biographies to The Dowse’s website. However, I see four advantages to using Wikipedia:

  • Wikipedia scores well in Google searches, putting the information in front of people who might not even know about The Dowse (I know, it’s nearly unimaginable, but it does happen)
  • Wikipedia articles can be updated by any interested person. This takes the onus off The Dowse to keep these biographies up to date (a task we’re not resourced for)
  • We hope that people seeing this activity might be inspired to start their own editing and adding of information in Wikipedia
  • We hope to use the information that is ‘kept alive’ on Wikipedia in our own future collection digitisation.

Project objectives

We want to get as much value as possible out of the funding Ngā Taonga a Hine-te-iwa-iwa have generously provided. This is what we’re aiming for with this project:

  • The amount of information about New Zealand craft and applied art practitioners available online is dramatically increased
  • The amount of primary resources about New Zealand craft and applied art available online is increased
  • The researchers for the project develop a wide understanding of the history and current state of New Zealand craft and object art, and connections with artists and museum professionals
  • The researchers develop fluency in working with Wikipedia’s editorial protocols and can pass this expertise on to others
  • The project is openly documented and freely shared, to encourage others to run their own programmes
  • The Dowse’s knowledge about artists represented in our collection is increased.

Who is involved?

The Dowse has partnered with Ngā Taonga a Hine-te-iwa-iwa on this project. Apart from Dowse staff members being involved in the project, we’re reaching out into the New Zealand Wikipedia and international GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) Wikipedia community to provide mentors for our two dedicated Wikipedia researchers. This has also started with them attending a NDF workshop on Wikipedia last week.

An advisory group has been formed to review the list of artists to be profiled and help build understanding of the project and connections with artists and research resources. The advisory group includes representatives from Ngā Taonga a Hine-te-iwa-iwa, Toi Māori, Auckland Museum, Te Papa, and Objectspace.

Digital New Zealand (a collaborative project run by the National Library of New Zealand to support the availability and use of New Zealand digital content, with a special emphasis on culture and heritage) will help us to make digitised material available through their Shared Research Repository.

An open project

We are treating this as an open project, and we plan to blog about the process and share information such as the budget for various aspects of the work transparently. This is being done in hopes that other institutions and sectors could pick up our project as a model and either finance the creation of another group of entries, or use it to profile another group of makers (such as design, photography, music or architecture).

Next steps

This is very much a project under development. We are currently collating basic biographical information and references for about 70 artists, from a long list of nearly 300 names. The first thing we need to nut out is Wikipedia’s standard around “notability” and making sure the entries we put up meet it. This means a lot of research online and through our (luckily quite extensive) collection of craft books, catalogues and serials.

We know we will learn a great deal, and hope to pass it on to all those interested in running or contributing to similar projects. Let us know if you have any questions – you can find more information on the project and post your comments through this extended blogpost on The Dowse Art Museum website.

State of the Commons: OpenGLAM highlights & what the future holds

Sarah Stierch - November 21, 2014 in Featured, News

In this blog (cross-posted from her blog The Culture Feed) Sarah Stierch discusses some of the OpenGLAM highlights in the recently published Creative Commons report ‘State of the Commons’, as well as some suggested future steps.

“Creative Commons’ goal has always been “realizing the full potential of the internet,” with greater access for everyone to culture, knowledge, information, and education.”
(Image: CC BY 4.0)

(Image: CC BY 4.0)

I was very happy to wake up this morning to discover that Creative Commons (CC) had published the State of the Commons report. While reading through the report and exploring the colorful infograph, I found myself getting very emotional about the shift in culture that has taken place since the inception of CC, and their open option to copyright, 12 years ago.

Freemedia fighters

The past five years has seen an uptick of cultural heritage institutions opening up their digitized works, with the inception of the GLAM-Wiki movement and OpenGLAM initiative. Freemedia fighters from within institutions and from the outside have made it our mission to enable the public access and to artwork, objects, film and writing. A small crop of contemporary artists have begun to explore it as well (most recently, Danish artist Filip Vest and the Hack the Bells contest). I can’t even imagine copyrighting my own work anymore, as a writer, public speaker or as a photographer, and perhaps that is my ego believing freedom is a more satisfying legacy (versus restrictive ownership).

OpenGLAM Highlights

There are a few highlights that I think can be attributed to the work we are doing in the OpenGLAM community:

  • In 2006, 50 million works were CC licensed/CC0. Today, over 882 million works are CC licensed/CC0. That number will continue to increase as we continue our efforts to open up more cultural heritage material and provide improved resources to the public about how the Commons works and why free licensing is so important.
  • The trend is moving towards free culture licenses. About 56% of those works are free culture licenses, meaning it will end up on Wikimedia Commons to be used in Wikipedia articles and can be adapted and used for commercial use. More restrictive licenses (non-commercial, no-derivatives, etc.) fail the mission of open culture and, in my opinion, are the last vestiges of copyleft imperialism.
  • The USA and Europe lead the way in open licensing, which is no surprise given that open licensing advocacy groups involved in OpenGLAM are primarily headquartered in both the USA and Europe (i.e. Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Open Knowledge Foundation, Europeana). We need to provide more multi-language resources and support to empower our brothers and sisters fighting restriction around the world.
I have used this awesome cheshire cat toy image in many presentations about OpenGLAM. It's a gem and was freed to the Commons in 2011. A Cheshire cat toy from the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, CC BY SA 3.0

I have used this awesome cheshire cat toy image in many presentations about OpenGLAM. It’s a gem and was freed to the Commons in 2011. (Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, CC BY SA 3.0)

What the future holds and needs

We have lofty dreams, or at least, I do. A dream where all public domain material that is locked up under image rights fees and faux-copyright claims are truly free; where all cultural institutions release their metadata CC0, and where artists are not scared of being starving artists or losing control of their creativity by releasing their works under free culture licensing. But enough about my dreams, here are a few ideas on where I think “we” need to move next:

  • Multi-lingual outreach, without over stepping it: we don’t want to be seen as imperialists moving into a country to demand they give it all up to the Commons and we’ll show them how to do it because their people aren’t capable of doing it on their own (especially given the Anglocentric nature of where the most Commons impact has been made, thus far). We need to create more multi-lingual multi-cultural resources, tools, and events that empower people – workshops not just lectures – throughout the world.
  • More FREE workshops and conference activities: these are key component to getting people engaged and empowered. The OpenGLAM US Workshop was a hit with participants, and led to further understanding and internal buy-in within many of the institutions represented. We need to keep these programs free, we need to keep them accessible, and at times, localized. We also need more booths/tables at conferences – lectures and panels are just the beginning. Keeping things free provides accessibility and doesn’t just empower the “GLAMs with lots of money”.
  • We need more investment – financially from institutions and organizations. While the idea of volunteers being the people power behind openness is romantic, the movement won’t be able to survive. We need more financial investment (and in-kind) from foundations, organizations, and individuals. Money funds the hiring of people (I like that idea!) and paid internships, events, attendance scholarships, evaluation, technology, etc.
  • More case studies: as the old proverb goes, “the proof is in the pudding“. Without more case studies, blogs and data about what has been released to the Commons we won’t be convincing more people to contribute. Here in the US, case studies are a critical component to getting institutional buy-in – from boards, curators, librarians, executive directors, etc. It’s lovely that your organization has openly licensed tons of pictures of paintings, but what impact has that made and what has been learned from it? Evaluation – with successes and failures – is an important tool to making more people jump into the Commons boat.
  • I use this image as my computer wallpaper. It was released into Flickr Commons under a "no known copyright restriction" license by Archives of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. This makes it a part of the broader Commons, but, it was not included in the CC report.

    I use this image as my computer wallpaper. It was released into Flickr Commons under a “no known copyright restriction” license by Archives of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. This makes it a part of the broader Commons, but, it was not included in the CC report.

    See where “no known copyright restriction” fits into this report. You can read more about this “faux license” here. It’s used to release media where the institutional holding it has done it’s fair share of research (or so they claim) to figure out the copyright status of the image and no one can figure it out, so it enters free licensing purgatory. I’d love to see more research around this – how to crowdsource licensing status and how this “license” fits into the State of the Commons.

The State of the Commons will continue to improve and grow as more people are empowered, engaged and inspired. Let’s get to work.

What other successes, challenges and next steps do you foresee for the OpenGLAM Commons? Share your thoughts below.

Harvard Library lifts copyright restrictions on public domain works

Lieke Ploeger - October 23, 2014 in Featured, News

oaweek2014-600x60As part of the international Open Access Week (20-26 October), Harvard Library shared great news on their new policy on the use of digital reproductions of public domain works. From now on, the library will make such reproductions openly available online and treat them as objects in the public domain. This means that users will be able to reuse this content in any way they want, without any restrictions: Harvard Library does not charge for permission to use those reproductions, and it does not grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute such images.

Harvard Library expects that this new policy will stimulate the use and reuse of digitized content for research, teaching, learning, and creative activities, which supports their mission of advancing scholarship and teaching by committing to the creation, application, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge. Sarah E. Thomas, Vice President for the Harvard Library and the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, states:

“We have already been using the digitization of Harvard’s collections as a means of enhancing access for Harvard’s students and faculty. Now we are seeking to share Harvard’s unparalleled collections with the rest of the world in ways that will foster new creativity.”

This is great news for OpenGLAM and we hope this can be an inspiring example for other institutions. The full policy can be read here: Harvard Library will announce other news related through Open Access Week on this page.