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Just as we need open data, we need open art

- 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 […]

Just as we need open data, we need open art

- 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 […]

Open Marginalis: Medieval Manuscripts in Open Access

- 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 […]

Open Marginalis: Medieval Manuscripts in Open Access

- 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 […]

LGMA Storytelling Application: Irish Folktales & Poetry

- July 22, 2015 in eSpace, Featured, Guest Blog Post

  As part of the Europeana Space project, the Libraries Development Team of the Irish Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) is exploring the potential for reusing open digital cultural content for educational purposes. The aim is to develop a storytelling application based on Irish folktales and poems that will allow the creation of versatile teaching material to support the primary […]

The Dowse Art Museum goes Wikipedia

- 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 […]

Open Rubens – the new and improved Rubens Online

- October 14, 2014 in Case Studies, Featured, Guest Blog Post

This is a guest blog post about the Open Rubens platform written by Joris Janssens of Packed, one of the partners of the Europeana Space (eSpace) project. Open Rubens won the public prize during the Opencultuurdata.be competition 2013. PACKED is a centre of expertise in digital heritage and promotes the use of standards for the […]

New York Cultural Heritage and Open Access Update

- September 12, 2014 in Featured, Guest Blog Post

New York is a center for world-class cultural heritage institutions, a site of innovation in the realm of digital humanities, library, archival, museum technology, and information sharing, not to mention hefty content production.  New York was also home to the first U.S. Wikimedia Chapter, Wikimedia NYC. That’s why it’s not surprising that there is also […]

Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon handbook for GLAMs

- April 22, 2014 in Featured, Guest Blog Post

This is a guest blog post written by Gregory Markus from the Europeana Fashion project, which works on providing digital objects related to the history of European fashion (ranging from historical dresses to accessories, photographs, posters, drawings, sketches, videos and fashion catalogues) to Europeana. In an effort to improve fashion knowledge online, Europeana Fashion is organising a series […]

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.