OpenGLAM Open Collections

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.



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


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:


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.