OpenGLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum) is an initiative coordinated by Open Knowledge that is committed to building a global cultural commons for everyone to use, access and enjoy.
OpenGLAM helps cultural institutions to open up their content and data through hands-on workshops, documentation and guidance and it supports a network of open culture evangelists through its Working Group.
“Open” is a term you hear a lot these days. We’ve tried to get some clarity around this important issue by developing a clear and succinct definition of openness – see Open Definition.
The Open Definition says that a piece of content or data is open if “anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.”
There a number of Open Definition compliant licenses that GLAMs are increasingly using to license digital content and data that they hold. Popular ones for data include CC-0 and for content CC-BY or CC-BY-SA are often used.
Cultural institutions that choose to open up their collections and data stand to gain a number of things.
Some of the main advantages are:
Greater public awareness of their collections via popular open content portals such as Wikimedia Commons and the Internet Archive
Increased discoverability of their holdings through portals like Europeana and Google
Improved opportunities for their audiences to participate in the curation and enrichment of their collections
Open cultural content and data have a number of important advantages to society. Some of the greatest minds have observed the ability of prior knowledge to stimulate innovation and creativity. Isaac Newton famously wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” and the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe echoed this when he said, “I have often reaped what others have sowed.”
Much of the work of OpenGLAM, and Open Knowledge more generally, takes off from an understanding of the importance of knowledge sharing for research, innovation and creativity. For instance:
More openly licensed cultural content enables teachers across the world to re-use this work in the classroom
More open cultural data enables researchers to draw links between between people, things and events through the use of innovative techniques such as text mining and visualisation
More open cultural content enables citizens from across the world to enjoy this material, understand their cultural heritage and re-use this material to produce new works of art
OpenGLAM works to help cultural institutions to open up their collections in a number of ways:
Documentation and workshops about open licensing and open formats for those working within the cultural heritage sector who want to help institutions open up their holdings
Evangelism around the OpenGLAM principles spearheaded by the volunteer-led OpenGLAM Working Group;
Creating forums both online and offline for professionals working within the cultural sector to share their experiences around opening up their holdings
What does OpenGLAM do to help promote the value of open cultural data and content to the wider public?
Through the Public Domain Review OpenGLAM aims to surface some of the most appealing and interesting openly licensed digitised works to show what an incredible resource the digital public domain is and to showcase the work of institutions who are embracing openness.
What good is open content and data if there’s no one to re-use it or people without the tools that help them to work with it? OpenGLAM supports the building of simple, easy to use, open-source tools that help teachers, researchers and the wider public interact with digitised cultural content and data. To see a selection of such tools visit our Open Culture Labs.
If you have any queries about OpenGLAM, would like to contribute to the blog or join our network of organisations, makers and evangelists to promote greater openness in cultural heritage, please contact email@example.com.
Unless stated otherwise, all content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (all jurisdictions).
OpenGLAM is co-funded by the European Commision as part of the DM2E project.