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Are you working in the OpenGLAM arena? Tweet about it!

OpenGlam - July 19, 2018 in Featured

Starting today, community members from Open Knowledge International, Wikimedia Foundation, and Creative Commons, will be facilitating a rotating curation of the @openglam twitter account to highlight and reflect on the impact of  “OpenGLAM” (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) in their respective contexts.

OpenGLAM is a global network of people and organizations who are working to open up content and data held by Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. As a community of practice, it incorporates ongoing efforts to disseminate knowledge and culture through policies and practices that encourage broad communities of participation, and integrates them with the needs and activities of professional communities working at GLAM institutions.

GLAMs are powerful institutions for sharing knowledge with the world. Especially on the internet, building a practice of sharing knowledge requires adopting practices that open collections using open licensing, tools, and infrastructures. To do this work, leaders around the world have to converse, run projects, and support institutions in thinking about the larger potential of sharing their knowledge with the world. We want to use the OpenGLAM Twitter account to highlight the great work that people from different regions, linguistic communities, time zones and contexts are doing to advance openness in GLAMs.

Our approach is simple: contributors will be added to the @openglam account through Tweetdeck and will get a chance to curate the conversation coming from that Twitter account for 2 weeks. You can read the instructions for participants here. If you want to contribute, please sign up on this Google form!

Our first curator is going to be @samuelguebo, a Wikimedia community member who has been leading partnerships with libraries in Côte d’Ivoire  and will be attending Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa this week. Do you have an upcoming event or activity that you think will spark a conversation? Contact us to become the next curator!

Curating the @openglam account is part of a broader conversation that organizations like OKI, WMF and CC are having about growing the impact of the “big open”. We hope that this curated Twitter will open up conversations about what brings us together as practitioners and enthusiasts for Open GLAM. There has been massive change in the cultural heritage sector and open communities in the past few years – the Open GLAM community is brought together by a set of principles that may need to evolve to meet these changing contexts.

We hope to hear from you soon! If you want to get involved with the GLAM at Creative Commons and beyond, please consider joining the Creative Commons Slack group.

Just as we need open data, we need open art

Chris Woolfrey - May 24, 2016 in Featured, Guest Blog Post

This blog post was written by Chris Woolfrey, Editor of Right to Copy. You can fund Right to Copy on Kickstarter.

In 2007 the novelist Jonathan Lethem wrote “The Ecstasy of Influence” for Harper’s Magazine. In it, Lethem argues that all art by necessity connects with other art: that open lines of communication are built into the creative process and into artworks themselves.

In other words, that an artist can’t help but connect his or her work to existing things, and at the same time lay the ground for others to connect with his or her own. Discussing the connection of ideas across hundreds of years, he writes:

… consider the remarkable series of “plagiarisms” that links Ovid’s “Pyramus and Thisbe” with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, or Shakespeare’s description of Cleopatra, copied nearly verbatim from Plutarch’s life of Mark Antony and also later nicked by T. S. Eliot for The Waste Land. If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism.

In so writing, Lethem put eloquently something I had for a long time felt but couldn’t articulate: that sharing ideas and drawing on the ideas of others isn’t always an ideological choice. It happens without us even thinking about it.

That was the impetus for creating Right to Copy, a magazine discussing the relationship between copyright and art, and promoting a belief in the open communication of ideas. My thinking was this: if Lethem is right (and I believe that he is), then why is it that we close artworks off with stringent copyright laws?RtC front cover

For me, doing so only makes it harder for people to do what they’re doing without even meaning to: creating something – from music and film to writing, painting, video games and fashion – that naturally affects everything around it.

Though I’m probably in favour of some form of copyright law, I agree with Lawrence Lessig and the like that the current system is broken and wildly out of control. I won’t repeat those arguments here, because they’ve been better made by others – including Cory Doctorow, in Right to Copy’s first issue – but it’s clear to me that something should change, and that artists and their audiences should be talking about it.

Cory preview

Right to Copy will provide a forum for that discussion, and it will make clear that the discussion doesn’t begin and end with the law. Indeed, it will argue that how the law permeates in popular culture is much more important.

To that end, it’ll look at what an author is, and why we think authors are important; it’ll consider why originality is such a sought after thing, and how far it can really be achieved; and it’ll wonder why the kinds of discussions orchestrated by
Open Knowledge International happen in certain fields – data, software, publishing itself – but not so much in the arts and the way we discuss the arts.

And they need to happen in the arts. Mass media have always had a community element to them; it’s imperative that we not only protect that but strengthen and extend it. It’s my hope that, in publishing a magazine under an open copyright license – and more importantly, discussing issues and concepts that really matter to people – I can help in my small way to spread the word, and to bring others into the conversation and therefore empower them.  

It might be grandiose and it might not work: but if there’s an audience for the magazine then it means that there might be an audience for a different kind of art. In that sense, Right to Copy is a case study; and one that is gathering support already.



OpenGLAM Documentation updated

Lieke Ploeger - May 12, 2016 in Documentation, eSpace, Featured

Last summer Open Knowledge launched the Open Content Exchange Platform, a resource developed within the E-Space (Europeana Space) project that collects materials on the reuse of open cultural heritage content. It is incorporated in the E-Space Content Space, where you can find a variety of resources on licensing, IP and copyright. At the end of April 2016 we completed our work on the platform: the final version contains 120 resources and has now also been incorporated into the OpenGLAM Documentation page to provide a more user-friendly and updated overview.


In this summary document on the Open Content Exchange Platform you can read more about the contents and functionality of the platform. Through the search interface, you can easily filter on specific content, or on specific tags. It is also possible to browse through the content, or a specific type of resources. All resources of our OpenGLAM Documentation page have also been incorporated – if you know of any additional resources that need to be added, feel free to notify us by email.

We look forward to seeing the final outcomes of the E-Space project develop over the next months, as the winners of the hackathons in six thematic areas (TV, Photography, Dance, Games, Open and Hybrid Publishing and Museums) further develop and shape their innovative ways of reusing digital cultural heritage into sustainable business models.

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Copyright, free culture and art

Antonio Roberts - May 9, 2016 in Featured

This is a guest blog by Antonio Roberts, a new media artist whose work focuses on the errors and glitches generated by digital technology. Using only open source software and remixing openly licensed material, his art invites people to reflect on issues around free culture, copyright and ownership. In this blog he shares his approach as well as an overview of his recent work. 

Copyright is an incredibly important law that can have massive implications on individual artists and the cultural sector as a whole. Unfortunately, it isn’t until it affects us negatively that we begin to seriously consider it. Legal cases such as the estate of Marvin Gaye versus Robin Thicke , Katrijn van Giel versus Luc Tuymans, and earlier examples such as Art Rogers versus Jeff Koons, and TufAmerica versus Beastie Boys show that the law can negatively affect creativity. If we allow this behaviour to continue we risk entering into a permission culture where even being inspired by an artist can have dangerous consequences.Dead Copyright

It is for these reasons and more that I set out to make art about copyright. Since 2009 I have used only open source software and since around 2014 I have began to focus on the legal side of this choice instead of just the tools themselves. My general aim is to act as an example to both artists and institutions of the opportunities to be had when laws are relaxed, attitudes changed and a general community of sharing and collaboration is fostered. Permission Taken

From October 2015 – May 2016 I had my first solo exhibition, Permission Taken, at Birmingham Open Media and University of Birmingham. The works in the exhibition and supporting events and presentations gave the public many avenues into which they could engage with the topic of copyright.

Copy BombCopy Bomb sculptures (reskinned PirateBoxes) introduced the idea of sharing in a counter-culture way; the Dead Copyright wall installation of prints dealt with the noise and influence of corporate branding and the dangers of one-way cultural appropriation; and the Archive Remix prints and videos shared works created with open licenced content. An important milestone in this exhibition was the launch of and the subsequent Remix Party!. Although many institutions are now making the archives public, as academics such as Melissa Terras have pointed out, in order for this action to have greater impact there needs to be some curation., which takes inspiration from Oliver Laric’s Lincoln Scans website, presents a selection of archive content from the University of Birmingham’s Research and Cultural Collections to the public with the intention that they are remixed and reworked and re presented to the world.


Remix by: Carla Gannis // Original Work: Cathode Ray Oscilloscope

The Remix Party! brought together these remixes, which include work from artists such as Adam Ferriss, Nick Briz, Dan Hett, Carla Gannis, and Emily Haasch, for a night of projections that aimed to celebrate what great art can be created by remixing existing art. Remix Party!

What this experience has shown me is that a multi faceted approach is needed if we are to engage artists with the issue of copyright. Explaining how restrictive the laws are and the potential negative implications is important but so is highlighting the great work that can be made by freeing artwork.

Open & Hybrid Publishing: Collated resources

Lieke Ploeger - April 26, 2016 in eSpace, Featured

As one of the six thematic pilots in the Europeana Space project, the Open & Hybrid Publishing pilot explores increasingly open and hybrid forms of publishing. Such new forms disrupt traditional publishing structures, giving people the opportunity to become publishers themselves, and not just consumers of published content. The main goals of the pilot, which is led by Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London), are to make more people familiar with the available open cultural content (especially images), as well as to explore a new business model for open and hybrid publishing and share this model with others. In this blog you can find a summary of all relevant resources that the pilot has produced.

First of all, the model for open and hybrid publishing is demonstrated through ‘Photomediations: An Open Book, a creative online experience of a traditional coffee-table book filled with openly licensed images relating to different aspects of photomedia, as well as academic and curatorial texts. There is also an offline printed version of the written texts available, in the form of a scholarly reader. For those interested in using the model themselves, there is a downloadable brochure ‘A Guide to Open and Hybrid Publishing, which uses the open book as an example to outline possibilities and offer technical and business advice on how to put the model into practice. Around these outcomes, the pilot organised a series of educational activities, ranging from university classes to an online contest and the Hack the Book festival-cum-hackathon in January 2016. guide_2Openness is a core aspect of this pilot. The online version of the book has been built with open source code, and the images are drawn from various online repositories of open access material, such as Europeana, Flickr: The Commons, and Wikimedia CommonsWork also focused on promoting the social and cultural value of openness, and the idea of open access, especially in educational contexts. With the hybrid aspect in mind, possibilities for generating value or revenue were explored as well, such as making the book freely available online, but selling a paper edition next to it. Another major focus was organising the hackathon, the Hack the Book festival (22-24 January 2016) in Athens, which focused on creating a phygital (physical + digital) book from scratch by remixing and building upon open content from Europeana, and was preceded by educational demonstrations as well as an evening symposium on open book cultures.


Finally, the pilot is currently curating an exhibition, both online and physical, which will be a celebration of the possibilities of remixing open digital culture. Through an open call, people have been invited to submit still and/or moving image works that creatively reuse – in the form of mashups, collages, montages, tributes or pastiches – one or more original image files taken from Europeana. In this way, different user groups such as students, educators, artists and independent publishers will become familiarised with Europeana content and encouraged to get involved in reusing this content in a creative way. The material received in response to the call will form the basis of a virtual and a real-life exhibition later on in 2016, to be held online and in a real-life venue.

More information


The Europeana Space MOOC

Clarissa Colangelo - April 19, 2016 in eSpace, Featured

Europeana Space (a project that works on increasing and enhancing reuse of Europeana and other online collections of digital cultural content by creative industries especially) is developing a MOOC, a massive open online course, to be launched in the fall of 2016. The aim of the course is to share our experiences, the lessons learned during the project and the tools we have developed during the pilot activities of E-Space; but also what we learned thanks to the hackathons and the workshops that we held with creative professionals throughout Europe. We want to share all of this with students and teachers, professionals from the GLAM sector, event organizers and developers working on cultural heritage, with the aim to convince them of the importance of the creative reuse of digital cultural heritage and to show them that the steps to take and the tools to use to do so are within everyone’s reach.

mooc-580x348The information on the MOOC is always distributed on three different levels. The first is a general level that targets mainly cultural heritage amateurs, students and teachers: the education segment. Here we want to show our learners how easy it can be to move from a passive use of digitized cultural heritage – that can be simply searching for materials on repositories such as Europeana – to an active and proactive use, where everyone can contribute and share their own insights and new narratives built around this cultural heritage individually and/or with others. To give an example, in the first module of the MOOC (the Photography module) we show how teachers, using the storytelling tool that we developed, can create stories with materials that they can find on trusted web sources, and share them with their students. This can easily become a group assignment where students are asked to complement the teachers’ stories with their own chapters and materials.

On the second level, we target GLAM professionals. Learners will be taught how to access APIs, how to query the database from their own websites and to automate important processes for the stories they want to develop, how to create interactivity into their events, how to build components in their websites and refer to the technologies that we have developed. They also get guidance on how to use the E-Space technical space and its API, how to find interesting samples of code on Europeana Labs and they will have access to more readings on how to reuse Europeana contents and on Europeana creatives.

Lastly, the third level reaches out to developers. They will be able to search the MOOC to find the most technical information, e.g. a link to a certain API or a specific explanation; they will also have the opportunity to participate in forum discussions with people working with Europeana or from the GLAM sector. We hope this way to incite interesting discussions where knowledge from different sectors can be shared and learners can learn not only from us, but also from one another.


Within E-Space we also developed a website for education where it is possible to find pointers to almost everything that will also be in the MOOC. But we decided to develop a MOOC as well, because it provides more guidance through the steps of learning. The MOOC brings in the structure, discipline and an A to Z learning path necessary to learn and spur some action. It is, if you wish, a sort of guided tour through what we, the pilots of E-Space, have developed, experienced and learned.

More information on the MOOC is available from this website or from this recent presentation.

Clarissa Colangelo and Fred Truyen

Update on the Open Content Exchange Platform

Lieke Ploeger - April 6, 2016 in eSpace, Featured

Last summer Open Knowledge launched the Open Content Exchange Platform, a resource developed within the ESpace (Europeana Space) project that collects materials on the reuse of open cultural heritage content. It is incorporated in the Content Space (which is one of three spaces being developed in ESpace alongside the Innovation Space and the Technical Space), where you can find a variety of resources on licensing, IP and copyright. Since then, many new resources have been added, and there is a useful guidance document on the platform now available as well.


In this summary document on the Open Content Exchange Platform you can read more about the type of content available (which includes blogpost, reports, videos, presentations and much more) and the functionality of the platform, which has been built using Omeka (similarly to the OpenGLAM Open Collections page). Each resource is added as an item, with metadata for the title, description, identifier/url, creator, date, rights, format and type, and tagged with a number of keywords describing their content. Through the search interface, you can easily filter on specific content, or on specific tags. It is also possible to browse through the content, or a specific type of resources. All resources of our OpenGLAM Documentation page have also been incorporated – in the future, a version of the new platform will replace our Documentation webpage to provide a more user-friendly and updated overview.

To give you an idea of what has been added to the platform in recent months, here is a brief overview with some of the new resources in their respective categories:


  • A series of infographics by Podromos Tsiavos on orphan works, copyright & IP and the different value production models that can be used when dealing with digital cultural heritage content
  • IPR Guidelines – A guide to understanding copyright when reusing cultural data – Kennisland has partnered with Collections Trust to address questions that partners of Europeana Food and Drink have about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Though primarily intended for the partners of the Europeana Food and Drink project, the context and flowcharts in this publication are useful for several types of reuse of cultural data.


  • Open for Business – A look at how platforms and creators build successful endeavors around open digital content, by Sarah Hinchliff Pearson – the first in a series of six Medium articles exploring how creators, businesses, and nonprofits sustain themselves when they are giving their work away for free using CC licensing.
  • On the Commons – Blog on how the National Library of New Zealand added the first batch of 3500 open images to Flickr Commons, as well as their future plans for increasing this amount.



  • A Curated Object and a Disruptive e-Anarchive – Illustrated article by Kamila Kuc, introducing Photomediations: An Open Book – an experiment in ‘open and hybrid publishing’ undertaken in 2015 as part of the ESpace project.

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Open Culture at Open Belgium

Lieke Ploeger - March 14, 2016 in eSpace, Events/Workshops, Featured

logo_bigLast month Open Knowledge Belgium organised the Open Belgium event in Antwerp – a one-day community-driven conference with talks, workshops and discussions around the state of openness in Belgium and abroad. One of the sessions was ‘Open Culture – How Wiki loves art and data’, which featured three talks around opening up cultural content.


In the first talk, Romaine of Wikimedia Belgium presented the Wiki Loves Art project, which they are starting up for Belgium. To boost Wikipedia content on Belgian art, and to raise awareness of the current underrepresentation of Belgian art and knowledge on the internet, they invite photographers and volunteers from Wikipedia to visit Belgian cultural institutions and take photos of collection pieces, which are then published online under an open license. This is not a replacement for digitisation efforts of museums, but a quick first step to get images online and boost searchable information on the artworks and collections. This summer there will be a contest to select the best images. Wiki Loves Art has been taking place in other countries as well.


Following on that, Alina Saenko and Barbara Dierickx (PACKED) talked about how they started working together with Flemish museums to publish the metadata of their art collections on Wikidata (with a CC0 license), and then make this dataset available as Linked Open Data (LOD). All artworks are for example given a persistent identifier, which allows for enrichment because the works can then be linked to other available data, providing more contextual information. Over 25.000 records of Flemish artworks have now been added.

Some great examples were shown of the new overviews that can then be produced, such as the lifecycle of an artwork, the history of ownership of artwork or the acquisition sources for a museum. In addition, Wikidata feeds into Wikipedia, which greatly increases the public outreach. In this whitepaper PACKED summarises how data managers in museums may publish collection data on Wikidata, and what benefits this can bring. More information on the project is available here.


The final talk focused on OpenGLAM: after a short overview of the initiative, we went into the two new resources have been developed last year: the Open Collections, a resource bringing together collections from around the world that provide digital scans or photos that can be freely used without any restrictions and the Open Content Exchange Platform, an online, publicly accessible platform  developed within the Europeana Space project to connect people to documentation on open licensing for both suppliers and users of open content. Then there was a brief overview of the ongoing work on the OpenGLAM benchmark survey results (the complete presentation on this was given a week earlier by Beat Estermann at the Vernetzte Welten conference in Austria – see full slides here), and more information about the local groups and their activities. Perhaps some day a new OpenGLAM local group for Belgium can be started up, as the open data community in Belgium seems quite active!


There were many other sessions at the Open Belgium event, on topics ranging from open science to open cities and data journalism: presentations of the other sessions are now available from




Hacking, designing and tinkering open cultural heritage in Finland

Sanna Marttila - March 3, 2016 in Contest, Events/Workshops, Featured, Finnish, Hack days

The Hack4FI – Hack Your Heritage hackathon was organized for the second time in the beginning of February 2016. Nearly 100 creative minds came together for an inspirational and creative weekend. Designers, artists, storytellers, software developers and cultural heritage experts were working with concepts ranging from ‘big dada’ to sauna culture, and all the way to viable business solutions!

image00More than 30 Finnish cultural heritage institutions had made open cultural data and content available for everyone to explore and appropriate (see the datasets here). The biggest release ever in Finland of open cultural content was done for the hackathon: the service released an open API that provides a way to perform searches and access metadata from nearly 9 million cultural objects and artefacts coming from Finnish cultural and memory institutions, as well as access over 200 000 openly licensed photographs.


“In my opinion opening collections is an important part of the mission of the publicly funded art and cultural institutions” Senior Planning Officer Sanna Hirvonen, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

The hackathon weekend was organized around 10 different tracks that were facilitated by invited experts coming from different fields. These tracks included themes such as Digital Humanities, Art & Design, Digital Fabrication and Digital Storytelling. This year Hack4FI also partnered with the CreatiFI project, which organises Creative Ring Challenge Helsinki as a horizontal track where selected teams can win up to 50.000 euros to develop their idea further if the solution has business potential and you are using at least one of the offered FIWARE enablers.

“I took the Finnish Wartime photography archive terms-of-use clause: “you may not use the photographs to mislead people” as an invitation and inspiration to my Misleader project.” Artist, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen


After the busy weekend of hacking, designing and cultural tinkering 20 teams presented their ideas, concepts and prototypes on Sunday evening. These presentations comprised a variety of innovative, creative and even a bit crazy concepts varying from tangible information visualization and 3D objects to flash mob experience for single people and ‘big dada’, to games and virtual museums. Most of the results of the hackathon were collected to the Hack4FI Hackdash, where one can also get a better overview of the concepts and follow their progress. (

The Hack4FI competition is on!

The hackathon was the kick off event for the Hack4FI – Hack your heritage 2016 competition that is looking for innovative solutions that creatively re-use open cultural data and show a potential in creating value for the society at large. The competition welcomes designs, artworks and services in various stages e.g. concepts, prototypes or working products.

During the competition period there will be events in the partner organisations, and workshops to support and facilitate the teams to excel in the competition! To find more about the offerings please visit

In addition to the participants of the Hack4FI – Hack your heritage! hackathon all creative minds all around the world can take part in the competition with their project. The only criterion is that the submitted works should make use of open cultural data or content with a Finnish or Nordic origin (see the competition’s datasets here). The competition will be open for submissions until March 31st, 2016 (see the submission guidelines here) and the winners will be announced and awarded in the final gala on April 13th, 2016 in Helsinki, Finland.

Did you miss the fun at Hack4FI – Hack your heritage hackathon? See the short video of the weekend below:

Hack4FI – Hack your heritage from Open Knowledge Finland on Vimeo.

Open Marginalis: Medieval Manuscripts in Open Access

Kelly Fitzpatrick - February 29, 2016 in Featured, Guest Blog Post

This is a guest blog post by Kelly Fitzpatrick on Open Marginalis: a selection of digitized medieval manuscripts accessible under open use terms working to guide new users to open collections for casual and scholarly use (Open Marginalis, About).

Starting work on Open Marginalis, I wanted to solve a discovery problem. Institutions are choosing to make digital collections accessible under open use terms, but finding where to start can be tough for users at all levels, and knowing how to use that content can be even harder.

In action, Open Marginalis grew to function as selection of open collection highlights sourced from online resources within the scope of digitized medieval manuscripts. In this framework, the primary goal is to identify and feature selected content from open collections and aggregates like Wikimedia Commons, and share that work with the objective of highlighting open content produced by institutions – driving users back to collections through an accessible platform, and always linking back to source.

OpenMarginalis (1)

While earning my MLIS, I was interested in learning more about platforms for digital scholarship, and how those platforms can be used to boost collection access. In the final year of my MLIS, I had the opportunity to present Open Marginalis at the 2015 Simmons College Graduate Symposium as a work-in-progress under the title Open Marginalis: Medieval Marginalia in Open Access.  In the same year, I produced an overview of project goals, operations, and applied practices in OpenMarginalis: Tumblr as Platform for Digital Scholarship in Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections. In this piece, I wanted to both share applied practices for creating and growing with digital projects, and explore popular platforms like Tumblr as a place for digital scholarship.

For this project, I chose Tumblr as a platform that would support users at all levels of scholarship, while being able to reach the strong community of information institutions maintaining a presence on the platform. After years of learning more about Tumblr’s functionality as a casual user, I wanted to see how a platform that empowers users to curate information could be used as a tool for digital collections. Continuing work on Open Marginalis, I want to create a space where users can start their search – from someone looking for a place to begin their experience with digital collections in a familiar interface, to a seasoned researcher looking for something new to include in a publication that they’d like to share under open use terms. As the growing audience of Open Marginalis quickly approaches 5000 followers through Tumblr, I want to learn more about how online audiences are using Open Marginalis, and what they’d like to see more of in the future.

As a growing digital project, being able to take shape in tandem with project goals has been key to where Open Marginalis has moved since it’s start date. In the past six months, I made the decision to widen the scope of Open Marginalis from a project focusing more granularly marginalia shown in digitized medieval manuscripts, to digitized medieval manuscripts as a whole. While project goals have remained consistent, I’ve continued to experiment with different ways Open Marginalis can better improve access within its scope. For example, in late 2015, I put together a Browse by Institution page with the goal of enabling users to browse content by their source institution for a different discovery experience. More recently, I’ve started work on a Resources page for Open Marginalis with plans for future expansion – currently featuring a set of scope specific Wikimedia categories, from “Illuminated Manuscripts by Century” to “Illuminated Manuscripts by Style” as an accessible entry point for more open resources.

In future developments for Open Marginalis, I want to continue working on new approaches to supporting the visibility of digital collections, bolstering existing resources for growing audiences, and sharing applied practices from this digital project with more to come.


(Image: The British Library, Public Domain)