**The following post is from [Jonathan Gray](http://jonathangray.org/), Community Coordinator at the [Open Knowledge Foundation](http://www.okfn.org).**
I’ve recently been thinking about the role the [Open Knowledge Foundation](http://okfn.org/) can play in helping to **open up the public domain**.
Ultimately I think we should help to **rally existing stakeholders from around the world behind a simple vision**, and **encourage them to work together to realise it**.
At its simplest this vision is:
> **We want to make it easier for everyone to find and reuse works which are in the public domain.**
Adorning my ‘Massively Ambitious’ hat, this has two main parts:
* **Gathering [open](http://www.opendefinition.org/) information (‘metadata’) about every public domain work in the world** – including books, recordings, films, paintings, photographs, and so on. In practise this means opening up existing collections of metadata from galleries, libraries, archives and museums – and combining this with information from other sources (e.g. [DBpedia](http://dbpedia.org/About), crowdsourced data) to make sure it is complete and accurate.
* **Publishing an [open](http://www.opendefinition.org/) digital copy of every public domain work in the world**. Which means encouraging existing publishers to publish digital copies of works in a way which means that everyone is free to reuse them (i.e. trying to discourage [copyfraud](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyfraud) and legal/technical restrictions on reuse).
To pursue these things I would propose that the Open Knowledge Foundation should:
* **Start a high-profile campaign to encourage institutions to open up their metadata + digital copies of public domain works *in the right way***. Getting sign on from prominent stakeholders in this area (e.g. Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Wikimedia Foundation, exemplary institutions, etc). I’ve started discussing this with various people already – including the idea of 1-2 short animations to promote open metadata and open digital copies of works!
* **Create a ‘proof of concept’ project to show users what we want to do, and to encourage stakeholders to collaborate towards building this**. Like an all-singing, all-dancing, elegant, beautiful and feature-heavy version of [PublicDomainWorks.net](http://publicdomainworks.net/). Less focused on hard-core data integration/exposure, and more focused on interesting and useful front-end features for ordinary users (e.g. lets me create a library of my favourite books, a list of my favourite paintings, get material from multiple sources, etc). Ultimately we need to build *shared* infrastructure for the discovery of public domain works – that brings together and builds on the amazing collections and services that are already out there – from [Open Library](http://openlibrary.org/) and [Europeana](http://www.europeana.eu/) to [Project Gutenberg](http://www.gutenberg.org/) and [Wikimedia Commons](http://commons.wikimedia.org/). We want **open infrastructure** that **federates** content – and allows it to be easily integrated, embedded and reused in lots of different contexts. This is a good way to demonstrate what we want to do!
* **Build a stronger network of people/organisations/projects to celebrate and evangelise about the public domain** – through things like the [Communia Association](http://www.communia-association.org/), the [Working Group on the Public Domain](http://publicdomain.okfn.org/wg/), [Public Domain Day](http://www.publicdomainday.org/), [The Public Domain Review](http://publicdomainreview.org/), [Open Shakespeare](http://openshakespeare.org/) and more events, workshops and meetups!
We want to build a stronger culture of **explicitly recognising the value of the public domain**, and of **greater collaboration** to enable people use and enjoy it.
**If you’re interested in any of this we’d strongly encourage you to join the conversation by introducing yourself on our [pd-discuss mailing list](http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/pd-discuss)!**