You are browsing the archive for Joris Pekel.

Maintaining a healthy and thriving Public Domain

- July 22, 2014 in Events/Workshops, Featured, Public Domain

At this week´s Open Knowledge Festival, Europeana together with the OpenGLAM initiative and Dutch think tank Kennisland ran a workshop to discuss how to maintain a healthy and thriving public domain of cultural heritage. The festival ran from 16-17 July in Berlin, and was attended by more than 1000 people from all over the world who gathered to talk about […]

Let’s bring the Public Domain Calculators Worldwide !

- July 10, 2014 in Featured, Front Page, Public Domain, Workshops

This blogpost was written by Pierre Chrzanowski, Open Knowledge Foundation France Our cultural heritage is immense but it has been dispatched across countries, public institutions, private collections, and so forth. Hence, for a long time, there was unequal access to culture and knowledge. Those who were close to cultural institutions or knowledge centers had lots […]

New Topic Report: Public Sector Information in Cultural Heritage Institutions

- July 8, 2014 in documentation, Featured, Front Page

This week a new Topic Report has been published on the ePSI Platform about public sector information in cultural heritage institutions. The report discusses the current state of the digital cultural heritage landscape in Europe and looks at what the recently accepted amendments to the PSI Directive mean for the sector. What is Public Sector […]

OpenGLAM structure and Working Group

- February 27, 2014 in Featured, Front Page, News, Working Group

The OpenGLAM initiative has been around now for more than two years. In this period we have advocated for more open data in the cultural heritage sector in a variety of ways. In this blog post I want to give you an overview of the structure of OpenGLAM and of our different activities we organise […]

Highlights of the OpenGLAM Poland conference

- November 6, 2013 in Events/Workshops, Featured

Last month, the very first OpenGLAM conference was organised in Warsaw by Wikimedia Polska in collaboration with Centrum Cyfrowe and modern art gallery Zacheta. This event brought together many representatives from the Polish GLAM sector and a variety of people who work to get more cultural data and content available for anyone for re-use. The […]

OpenGLAM going forward

- July 31, 2013 in Featured, News

Over the last weeks it has been relatively quiet on the OpenGLAM blog and mailing list. This is partially due to summer holidays, but also because I recently have left the Open Knowledge Foundation to work for the Europeana Foundation as the Community Coordinator Cultural Heritage. Here I will work even closer together with cultural heritage institutions to show the benefits of opening up their collections, both for themselves, as for society as a whole. What will this mean for OpenGLAM? Well basically, not too much. OpenGLAM has established itself over the last year as a network of people involved in the cultural heritage sector where we share knowledge, write blogposts, and collaborate to organise meetings and events with cultural heritage institutions to work to make their material available for everybody to re-use without any restrictions. As the largest European project when it comes to open digital heritage, Europeana has always been an important partner of the OpenGLAM network. Together we have organised last years OKFestival session on building the cultural commons, and during the same week Harry Verwayen from Europeana announced on the main stage that all metadata on Europeana would be available under a completely open CC0 license, an amazing achievement for the work we have all been doing together. As part of my new role at Europeana, I will remain coordinating the OpenGLAM working group alongside Sam Leon from the Open Knowledge Foundation. Together with our working group and advisory board we will work to set out the plans for OpenGLAM for the coming period. A few of the things I would like to work on:
  • Grow the network of OpenGLAM members. We have brought together people from around the world that are working to open up cultural data and content. We meet once a month to update each other about our activities, think about blogpost to write, and discuss next steps to be taken. Very often, working group members serve as a bridge between local initiatives and the global network. We are happy to share our knowledge with anybody that is involved in the cultural sector, or wants to initiate a similar initiative – like the recent founding of OpenGLAM Austria.

  • Finalise the OpenGLAM principles. You have been giving incredibly valuable feedback to the first set of principles we developed. We now have to rework them and include your comments and get back to you. If you are interested in getting closer involved, let me know.

  • Continue developing a set of documentation and blogs about open culture data for institutions and organisations. Why is it valuable, what are the barriers, what are good case studies etc?

  • Increase the focus on Public Domain collections. There are many collections online that are in the public domain. However, many times you run into exceptions on the terms of use page that conflict with the public domain status. We have found that this is in most cases not because of institutions wanting these collections to be closed, but simply because of a lack of understanding and/or time. With a little bit of help and suggestions we managed to change quite a few license statements to a more open one.

Happy to hear more suggestions. And as always, if you want to get closer involved and join the OpenGLAM working group, let us know. No strings attached, so if you’re not sure if this is something for you, come along and find out!

Announcing the OpenGLAM Working Group

- July 25, 2013 in Featured, Working Group

Last month we announced the OpenGLAM advisory board which is made up of high-profile advocates for openness within the cultural heritage sector. Hereby we would like to introduce an other vital group of the OpenGLAM network: the Working Group members. The Members act as a bridge between different organisations and initiatives who work to open up digitised heritage, and the global network. The working group stays in close contact with the advisory board who provides guidance and gives feedback on key strategic issues. The members meet every month virtually to share knowledge, ask questions, work on projects and give updates about open culture data from around the world. During our monthly calls we are also very happy to welcome new potential members who are interested in setting up a local initiative in their country and are seeking advice. This has for example already led to the formation of OpenGLAM Austria in the last weeks! We are extremely happy with the current group and the diversity of different organisations, initiatives and institutions they represent. Go to the OpenGLAM Working Group page to see all their faces and read what they are up to. Want to know more about the OpenGLAM Working Group, and how to join? Please get in touch

Case Study: Remixing Openly Licensed Content in the Public Space

- July 8, 2013 in Case Studies, Featured, Guest Blog Post

This post is written by Merete Sanderhoff, who works at the Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK), the National Gallery of Denmark, as researcher and project manager, leading a number of projects providing open access to the museum’s digitized collections, and using digital media to freely share knowledge and resources with fellow institutions as well as users. She is also a member of the OpenGLAM Advisory Board In 2012, the Statens Museum fur Kunst (SMK) in Copenhagen decided to make a small batch of 160 high quality digital images of their public domain collection openly available on the web. The museum’s choice of open licenses is driven by a strong wish to encourage sharing and creative and innovative reuse of our digitized collections. Pilot projects have taught us that the need for openly licensed images and cultural heritage data is growing – not only among fellow institutions, but in the educational sector, Wikipedia, and on social media platforms in general – and likewise, that the willingness to share high quality images and data in the Danish museum community is growing.

The art pilots at work. Click for more images

In order to move from good intentions to concrete action, SMK has started a couple of initiatives to encourage museums to share their digitized collections, and the public to put them into use in new interactive ways. One of our recent initiatives is HintMe – a shared mobile museum platform – described at length in this case study on the Europeana Pro blog. Here I will talk about a more recent initiative: Remix art on the Copenhagen metro fences. The Copenhagen Metro is being expanded, predictably causing frustration for the people living next to the construction sites. As a positive countermove, the Copenhagen Metro Company works very creatively with decorating the metro fences, often in partnership with local communities. SMK has entered such a partnership, using our charter collection of open images as the raw material. This partnership has allowed SMK to explore several aspects of being an OpenGLAM institution (according to the OpenGLAM principles):
  • To bring our collections to the public
  • To collaborate with external communities of users
  • To provide the framework and resources, and then step back and see what people do with the digitized artworks
  • To let go of control over how our collections are perceived, used, and create meaning and value to people
In our partnership with the Copenhagen Metro Company, SMK is represented by Young People’s Laboratories for Art (ULK) – a community of young “art pilots” who meet at SMK once a week to do volunteer work on creative projects. So far, they have mostly worked peer-to-peer with other young people, for instance at Roskilde Festival. As I mentioned in my talk at Open Culture in London July 2nd the Metro project has offered them a new set of challenges. Collaborating with all kinds of locals living by the metro fences – families with kids, elderly people etc. – they have run into highly diverse perceptions of art and what is permissible to do with the artworks. To the art pilots, so-called ‘digital natives‘, it’s a natural and deeply rooted thing to remix the digitized artworks, do mashups, collages and Photoshop manipulations, in a seemless blend of “high and low” culture. To some of the locals around the construction sites, especially those of older generations, this approach to art seemed at first almost like an assault to the original artworks. This resulted in a lot of very productive discussions and negotiations between the art pilots and the locals who participated in project meetings and workshops. To SMK it has been interesting to discover that our own efforts to let go of control over our digitized artworks that are in the Public Domain – and therefore may be used by the public without restrictions – can offend the art perception of some users. Paradoxically, in this case it is not so much the museum, but the users, who worry about misuse and vandalism towards the artworks’ integrity when they are shared openly with the public. As such, the Metro project is a learning process for SMK where we reap new knowledge about how the public may wish to share and reuse digitized cultural heritage, and how they create new value for themselves and each other in the process. Opening up our digitized collections is all about letting go of the monopoly to define what art is and can be used for. Here and here, more photos can be found of the two metro fence revamps we have contributed to. Our initiatives with open images are inspired by the ideas behind Shelley Bernstein’s crowd-curated exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum, and by design principles in Nina Simon’s book The Participatory Museum (2010), among others.

Concerns and reasons not to open up GLAM data. Part 1 – Fear of Misuse

- June 21, 2013 in documentation, Featured

Over the last year, members of the OpenGLAM initiative have been talking with many representatives from cultural heritage institutions. We have had many interesting discussions about opening up collections and tried to overcome the many reasons and concerns institutions have not to open up their data and content. In this blogpost we will talk about these different reasons and try to give advice or solutions.
'Internetcrimineel' taken by Verbeeldingskr8. CC-BY-SA

‘Internetcrimineel’ taken by Verbeeldingskr8. CC-BY-SA

In most cases, we talked about the major legal and technical questions, which we have written extensively about on the OpenGLAM blog. But very often, also other concerns within the institution plays a role in not opening up the data. When we started writing these down, we quickly realised that this was too much for a single blogpost. We will therefore explore these concerns and their possible answers in series. We will start off with a couple of concerns which can be summarised as ‘the fear of misuse’ – intentional or unintentional. Many institutions fear that by opening up their data and making it freely available, they will lose track of what happens with their data, it will be used in the wrong context, by people with bad intentions, and the data will be ripped apart, losing all it’s value.

People will misinterpret the data

By opening up the data you allow the user to access and re-use it without asking the institution first. It is hard for the institution to keep track of what happens with their data and how it is interpreted. While the curator has carefully selected and managed its collection, putting it freely online would allow the user to download it, and use and interpret it in ways that you would have never thought off. The first step in overcoming this problem is documentation about how you think the data should be interpreted. As a curator you know most about how the collection is structured and why certain decisions were made, be prepared to help people answering their questions and correct people. At the same time, it is very likely that somebody out there knows more about your data than you do. By offering them a way to access your data and working with it, you allow them to spot errors or missing information, which they then can return to you. Several institutions have had great successes improving their collection and metadata by allowing the community to re-use it. Finally, publishing it yourself might actually prevent wrong interpretations. When the data is online but not open, it can still be acquired via less legal means (scraping, or just right-click, save). By keeping the publishing and updating in your own hand, you can quickly point to the source data of your institution to refute the wrong interpretation.

People with bad intentions will use my data in the wrong way

We see this concern mainly at institutions who have sensible material such as war museums. The fear is that people or groups with bad intentions will use their data in a harmful or wrong way. Very often, institutions add a sentence to their license to cover this, such as this example which says: ‘You may not use the photographs to mislead people. You may not use the photographs for unlawful or inappropriate purposes.’ This kind of restriction is very hard to interpret, after all, who decides that I am using this picture inappropriate? At the same time, the data can already be obtained by other slightly harder means as written above and it is incredibly hard for an institution to track this, let alone to get the user to take it down. By adding these restrictions, the average user who wants to research or use this data in a proper way is disadvantaged as it makes it not easier to understand the restrictions. At the same time, the license is not going to prevent people who want to do harm of doing it. Also, when people decide to use your material in a really harmful way, there are other laws than copyright that can deal with this kind of misuse such as the several anti-racism and discrimination acts. As a final remark we would like to highlight again the importance of well maintained metadata. Opening data is not about dumping it on the web and never look at it again. It is up to the institution to publish this with the relevant information. Tell the user what they can expect, what its flaws are, and who to contact when they have questions. Only this way both the users and the institutions can really benefit from an open culture ecosystem. For more info about opening up your data the right way, see the OpenGLAM Principles. If you are an institution and have questions, feel free to get in touch directly. See also our documentation section.

The European Library – Towards an Open Collection

- June 20, 2013 in Featured, Guest Blog Post

The following post is written by Alastair Dunning, programme manager of the European Library. In digital terms, The European Library (TEL) has been around for quite a while. Starting with the GABRIEL project in 1997, TEL sought to bring together the catalogues and collections of Europe’s national libraries. The alliances and ideas built by TEL also provided the foundations for the Europeana service, which integrated digitised material from museums, archives and other related cultural heritage organisations. Now comprising 48 national libraries and over 20 research libraries, TEL’s portal provides access to a central index of over 117m metadata records, and an extra 18m records related to digitised items. But in the age of open, restricting access to the search and browse of a portal is not enough. End users want to be able to interrogate and download the data that is currently aggregated by TEL. That’s why The European Library is embarking on the process to have as many of these bibliographic records marked as CC0 as possible. Throughout 2013, TEL will be in dialogue with its member libraries to ascertain how much of their bibliographic metadata can be released with the Creative Commons 0 mark, thus allowing for the data’s maximum reuse both commercially and non-commercially. If one makes the assumption that each national library’s catalogue act as a record of books published in that country, then the combined TEL dataset can be thought of as Europe’s bibliography. And once this dataset is amassed and marked as CC0 it will be able to inspire a whole range of new uses; both in terms of the data being integrated into other library services and also in providing valuable source for any research project that can benefit from this massive dataset cataloguing all of Europe’s books.