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Become a Friend of The Public Domain Review

Adam Green - June 25, 2015 in Featured, Featured Project, Free Culture, Open GLAM, open knowledge, Public Domain, Public Domain Review

Open Knowledge project The Public Domain Review launches a major new fundraising drive, encouraging people to become Friends of the site by giving an annual donation.

For those not yet in the know, The Public Domain Review is a project dedicated to protecting and celebrating, in all its richness and variety, the cultural public domain. In particular, our focus is on the digital copies of public domain works, the mission being to facilitate the appreciation, use and growth of a digital cultural commons which is open for everyone.

We create collections of openly licensed works comprised of highlights from a variety of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, many of whom also contribute to our popular Curator’s Choice series (including The British Library, Rijksmuseum, and The Getty). We also host a fortnightly essay series in which top academics and authors write about interesting and unusual public domain works which are available online.

Founded in 2011, the site has gone from strength to strength. In its 4 plus years it has seen contributions from the likes of Jack Zipes, Frank Delaney, and Julian Barnes – and garnered praise from such media luminaries as The Paris Review, who called us “one of their favourite journals”, and The Guardian, who hailed us as a “model of digital curation”.

This is all very exciting but we need your help to continue the project into the future.

We are currently only bringing in around half of the base minimum required – the amount we need in order to tick along in a healthy manner. (And around a third of our ideal goal, which would allow us to pay contributors). So it is of urgent importance that we increase our donations if we want the project to continue.

Hence the launch of a brand new fundraising model through which we hope to make The Public Domain Review sustainable and able to continue into the future. Introducing “Friends of The Public Domain Review”

Image 1: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is "Flight" and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July - Source.

Image 1: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is “Flight” and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July. Source =

What is it?

This new model revolves around building a group of loyal PDR (Public Domain Review) supporters – the “Friends” – each of whom makes an annual donation to the project. This club of patrons will form the beating heart of the site, creating a bedrock of support vital to the project’s survival.

How can one become a Friend?

There is no fixed yearly cost to become a Friend – any annual donation will qualify you – but there is a guide price of $60 a year (£40/€55).

Are there any perks of being a Friend?

Yes! Any donation above $30 will make you eligible to receive our exclusive twice-a-year “postcard set” – 8 beautiful postcards curated around a theme, with a textual insert. Friends will also be honoured in a special section of the site and on a dedicated page in all PDR Press publications. They will also get first refusal in all future limited edition PDR Press creations, and receive a special end of year letter from the Editor.

How do I make my donation?

We’ve worked hard to make it as easy as possible to donate. You no longer have to use PayPal on the PDR site, but can rather donate using your credit or debit card directly on the site.

For more info, and to make your donation, visit:

Become a Friend before 8th July to receive the inaugural postcard set upon the theme of “Flight”

Image 2: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is "Flight" and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July - Source.

Image 2: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is “Flight” and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July. Source =

Community building through the DM2E project

Lieke Ploeger - April 8, 2015 in Community, DM2E, Linked Open Data, Open GLAM

During the past three years, Open Knowledge has been leading the community building work in the Digitised Manuscripts to Europeana (DM2E) project, a European research project in the area of Digital Humanities led by Humboldt University. Open Knowledge activities included the organisation of a series of events such as Open Data in Cultural Heritage workshops, running two rounds of the Open Humanities Awards and the establishment of OpenGLAM as an active volunteer-led community pushing for increased openness in cultural heritage.

DM2E and the Linked Open Web

dm2e_logoAs one of its core aims, the DM2E project worked on enabling libraries and archives to easily upload their digitised material into Europeana – the online portal that provides access to millions of items from a range of Europe’s leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums. In total, over 20 million manuscript pages from libraries, archives and research institutions were added during the three years of the project. In line with the Europeana Data Exchange Agreement, all contributing institutions agreed to make their metadata openly available under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication license (CC-0), which allows for easier reuse.

Since different providers make their data available in different formats, the DM2E consortium developed a toolset that converted metadata from a diverse range of formats into the DM2E model, an application profile of the Europeana Data Model (EDM). The developed software also allows the contextualisation and linking of this cultural heritage data sets, which makes this material suitable for use within the Linked Open Web. An example of this is the Pundit tool, which Net7 developed to enable researchers to add annotations in a digital text and link them to related texts or other resources on the net (read more).

Open Knowledge achievements

Open Knowledge was responsible for the community building and dissemination work within DM2E, which, apart from promoting and documenting the project results for a wide audience, focused on promoting and raising awareness around the importance of open cultural data. The presentation below sums up the achievements made during the project period, including the establishment of OpenGLAM as a community, the organisation of the event series and the Open Humanities Awards, next to the extensive project documentation and dissemination through various channels.


OpenGLAM-logoIn order to realise the value of the tools developed in DM2E, as well as to truly integrate the digitised manuscripts into the Linked Data Web, there need to be enough other open resources to connect to and an active community of cultural heritage professionals and developers willing to extend and re-use the work undertaken as part of DM2E. That is why Open Knowledge set up the OpenGLAM community: a global network of people and organisations who are working to open up cultural content and data. OpenGLAM focuses on promoting and furthering free and open access to digital cultural heritage by maintaining an overview of Open Collections, providing documentation on the process and benefits of opening up cultural data, publishing regular news and blog items and organising diverse events.

Since the start in 2012, OpenGLAM has grown into a large, global, active volunteer-led community (and one of the most prominent Open Knowledge working groups to date), supported by a network of organisations such as Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America, Creative Commons and Wikimedia. Apart from the wider community taking part in the OpenGLAM discussion list, there is a focused Working Group of 17 open cultural data activists from all over the world, a high-level Advisory Board providing strategic guidance and four local groups that coordinate OpenGLAM-related activities in their specific countries. Following the end of the DM2E project, the OpenGLAM community will continue to push for openness in digital cultural heritage.

Open Humanities Awards

openhumanitieslogosAs part of the community building efforts, Open Knowledge set up a dedicated contest awards series focused on supporting innovative projects that use open data, open content or open source tools to further teaching and research in the humanities: the Open Humanities Awards. During the two competition rounds that took place between 2013-2014, over 70 applications were received, and 5 winning projects were executed as a result, ranging from an open source Web application which allows people to annotate digitized historical maps (Maphub) to an improved search application for Wittgenstein’s digitised manuscripts (Finderapp WITTfind). Winners published their results on a regular basis through the DM2E blog and presented their findings at conferences in the field, proving that the awards served as a great way to stimulate innovative digital humanities research using open data and content. Details on all winning projects, as well as final reports on their results, are available from this final report.

DM2E event series

Over the course of the project, Open Knowledge organised a total of 18 workshops, focused on promoting best practices in legal and technical aspects of opening up metadata and cultural heritage content, providing demonstration and training with the tools and platforms developed in the project and hackdays and coding sprints. Highlights included the Web as Literature conference at the British Library in 2013, the Open Humanities Hack series and the Open Data in Cultural Heritage workshops, as a result of which several local OpenGLAM groups were started up. A full list of events and their outcomes is available from this final report.

og_fringe_okfest14 Open Data in Cultural Heritage Workshop: Starting the OpenGLAM group for Germany (15 July 2014, Berlin)

It has been a great experience being part of the DM2E consortium: following the project end, the OpenGLAM community will be sustained and build upon, so that we can realise a world in which our shared cultural heritage is open to all regardless of their background, where people are no longer passive consumers of cultural content created by an elite, but contribute, participate, create and share.

More information

Newsflash! OKFestival Programme Launches

Beatrice Martini - June 4, 2014 in Events, Free Culture, Join us, Network, News, OKFest, OKFestival, Open Access, Open Data, Open Development, Open Economics, Open Education, Open GLAM, Open Government Data, Open Humanities, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Open Research, Open Science, Open Spending, Open Standards, Panton Fellows, Privacy, Public Domain, Training, Transparency, Working Groups

At last, it’s here!

Check out the details of the OKFestival 2014 programme – including session descriptions, times and facilitator bios here!

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 4.11.42 PM

We’re using a tool called Sched to display the programme this year and it has several great features. Firstly, it gives individual session organisers the ability to update the details on the session they’re organising; this includes the option to add slides or other useful material. If you’re one of the facilitators we’ll be emailing you to give you access this week.

Sched also enables every user to create their own personalised programme to include the sessions they’re planning to attend. We’ve also colour-coded the programme to help you when choosing which conversations you want to follow: the Knowledge stream is blue, the Tools stream is red and the Society stream is green. You’ll also notice that there are a bunch of sessions in purple which correspond to the opening evening of the festival when we’re hosting an Open Knowledge Fair. We’ll be providing more details on what to expect from that shortly!

Another way to search the programme is by the subject of the session – find these listed on the right hand side of the main schedule – just click on any of them to see a list of sessions relevant to that subject.

As you check out the individual session pages, you’ll see that we’ve created etherpads for each session where notes can be taken and shared, so don’t forget to keep an eye on those too. And finally; to make the conversations even easier to follow from afar using social media, we’re encouraging session organisers to create individual hashtags for their sessions. You’ll find these listed on each session page.

We received over 300 session suggestions this year – the most yet for any event we’ve organised – and we’ve done our best to fit in as many as we can. There are 66 sessions packed into 2.5 days, plus 4 keynotes and 2 fireside chats. We’ve also made space for an unconference over the 2 core days of the festival, so if you missed out on submitting a proposal, there’s still a chance to present your ideas at the event: come ready to pitch! Finally, the Open Knowledge Fair has added a further 20 demos – and counting – to the lineup and is a great opportunity to hear about more projects. The Programme is full to bursting, and while some time slots may still change a little, we hope you’ll dive right in and start getting excited about July!

We think you’ll agree that Open Knowledge Festival 2014 is shaping up to be an action-packed few days – so if you’ve not bought your ticket yet, do so now! Come join us for what will be a memorable 2014 Festival!

See you in Berlin! Your OKFestival 2014 Team

Open Humanities Awards: second round

Lieke Ploeger - May 7, 2014 in Open GLAM


We are excited to announce the second round of the Open Humanities Awards, running from 30 April until 30 May 2014 (UPDATED) June 6. There are €20,000 worth of prizes on offer in two dedicated tracks:

  • Open track: for projects that either use open content, open data or open source tools to further humanities teaching and research

  • DM2E track: for projects that build upon the research, tools and data of the DM2E project

Whether you’re interested in patterns of allusion in Aristotle, networks of correspondence in the Jewish Enlightenment or digitising public domain editions of Dante, we’d love to hear about the kinds of open projects that could support your interest!

Why are we running these Awards?

Humanities research is based on the interpretation and analysis of a wide variety of cultural artefacts including texts, images and audiovisual material. Much of this material is now freely and openly available on the internet enabling people to discover, connect and contextualise cultural artefacts in ways previously very difficult.

We want to make the most of this new opportunity by encouraging budding developers and humanities researchers to collaborate and start new projects that use this open content and data paving the way for a vibrant cultural and research commons to emerge.

In addition, the DM2E project has developed tools to support Digital Humanities research, such as Pundit (a semantic web annotation tool), and delivered several interesting datasets from various content providers around Europe. The project is now inviting all researchers to submit a project building on this DM2E research in a special DM2E track.

Who can apply?

The Awards are open to any citizen of the EU.

Who is judging the Awards?

The Awards will be judged by a stellar cast of leading Digital Humanists:

What do we want to see?


Maphub, an open source Web application for annotating digitized historical maps, was one of the winners of the first round of the Open Humanities awards

For the Open track, we are challenging humanities researchers, designers and developers to create innovative projects open content, open data or open source to further teaching or research in the humanities. For example you might want to:

  • Start a project to collaboratively transcribe, annotate, or translate public domain texts

  • Explore patterns of citation, allusion and influence using bibliographic metadata or textmining

  • Analyse and/or visually represent complex networks or hidden patterns in collections of texts

  • Use computational tools to generate new insights into collections of public domain images, audio or texts

You could start a project from scratch or build on an existing project. For inspiration you can have a look at the final results of our first round winners: Joined Up Early Modern Democracy and Maphub, or check out the open-source tools the Open Knowledge Foundation has developed for use with cultural resources.

As long as your project involves open content, open data or open source tools and makes a contribution to humanities research, the choice is yours!

For the DM2E track, we invite you to submit a project building on the DM2E research: information, code and documentation on the DM2E tools is available through our DM2E wiki, the data is at Examples include:

  • Building open source tools or applications based on the API’s developed

  • A project focused on the visualisation of data coming from Pundit

  • A deployment of the tools for specific communities

  • A project using data aggregated by DM2E in an innovative way

  • An extension of the platform by means of a practical demonstrative application

Who is behind the awards?

The Awards are being coordinated by the Open Knowledge Foundation and are part of the DM2E project. They are also supported by the Digital Humanities Quarterly.

How to apply

Applications are open from today (30 April 2014). Go to to apply. The application deadline is 30 May 2014, so get going and good luck!

More information…

For more information on the Awards including the rules and ideas for open datasets and tools to use visit


Coding da Vinci – Open GLAM challenge in Germany

Guest - April 3, 2014 in Events, OKF Germany, Open GLAM

The following blog is by Helene Hahn, Open GLAM coordinator at Open Knowledge Germany. It is cross-posted from the Open GLAM blog

More and more galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are digitizing their collections to make them accessible online and to preserve our heritage for future generations. By January 2014, over 30 million objects have been made available via Europeana – among which over 4.5 million records were contributed from German institutions.

Through the contribution of open data and content, cultural institutions provide tools for the thinkers and doers of today, no matter what sector they’re working in; in this way, cultural heritage brings not just aesthetic beauty, but also brings wider cultural and economic value beyond initial estimations.

Coding da Vinci, the first German open cultural data hackathon will take place in Berlin to bring together both cultural heritage institutions and the hacker & designer community to develop ideas and prototypes for the cultural sector and the public. It will be structured as a 10-week-challenge running from April 26th until July 6th under the motto “Let them play with your toys!”, coined by Jo Pugh of the UK National Archives. All projects will be presented online for everyone to benefit from, and prizes will be awarded to the best projects at the end of the hackathon.

The participating GLAMs have contributed a huge range of data for use in the hackathon, including highlights such as urban images (including metadata) of Berlin in the 18th and 19th centuries, scans of shadow boxes containing insects and Jewish address-books from the 1930s in Germany, and much more! In addition, the German Digital Library will provide their API to hackathon participants. We’re also very happy to say that for a limited number of participants, we can offer to cover travel and accommodation expenses – all you have to do is apply now!

All prices, challenges and datasets will soon be presented online.

This hackathon is organized by: German Digital Library, Service Centre Digitization Berlin, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, and Wikimedia Germany.

Help Turn Voices from BBC Radio into Open Data for Wikipedia

Guest - November 14, 2013 in Open GLAM

This is a cross-posting from the OpenGLAM blog written by Michael Smethurst, development producer at the BBC – see the original post.

An invite

On Saturday, 18th January 2014 between 10am and 5pm the BBC is teaming up with the Open Knowledge Foundation’s OpenGLAM initiative, Creative Commons UK and the Wikimedia community to host an open event in the Media Cafe, New Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London (map here). Attendees will be given access to the Radio 4 permanent audio archive, the tools to take samples of voice recordings and the opportunity to upload them to Wikimedia Commons for inclusion into Wikipedia.

If you’d like to come along you can sign up for the day on EventBrite. The first 25 non-BBC sign ups will be given a free tour of Broadcasting House.

Some background

Back in 2012 Andy Mabbett, an active Wikipedian and open cultural data advocate, published a blog post requesting open-licensed, open-format recordings of the voices of Wikipedia subjects for Wikimedia Commons. The request went on to become the Voice Intro Project and [some examples can be found here]( In September Andy talked about the project to the Wikimedia UK blog:

The idea is to let Wikipedia readers find out what the people we write about sound like [..] It’s great that we can hear the voices of people like Gandhi and Alexander Graham Bell, but what about all the other historic figures, whose voices are lost forever? We shouldn’t let that happen when we have the technology and resources so easily available. Sure, some of our subjects are known for media appearances, but those aren’t necessarily available globally nor under an open licence.

Andy’s original post was spotted by Tristan and passed around R&D. Our first thought was, “we’ve got lots of voices”. Our second thought was, with some adjustment this could be a useful hook for institutions like the BBC and beyond with large, digitised audio archives but sparse metadata and no way to know who’s speaking in them.

Generating Linked Open Data from Open Content

As part of the ABC-IP project Yves built a speaker recognition algorithm that scales to large number of speakers, based on the LIUM speaker diarization toolkit. The software is able to recognise voice patterns and identify where the same voice box speaks across a large audio (or video) archive. Unfortunately, it doesn’t identify an actual person and doesn’t give us a name / identity for the person speaking.

The results can be seen on this episode of From Our Own Correspondent and this aggregation of episodes featuring the voice of Orla Guerin from the World Service archive (you’ll need to signed in to see). The names have been provided by users of the archive and are just strings and not identifiers for “things”.


The BBC makes extensive use of identifiers from the Wikimedia family (Wikipedia and Wikidata) and related projects (e.g. DBpedia) so it would be better if we could associate voice boxes with Wikipedia, DBpedia or Wikidata concept identifiers. This would allow us to surface programmes about and featuring person X.

As a piece of research we’re looking to investigate whether voice samples on Wikimedia/pedia could be used to generate a voice box “fingerprint” which could then be used to identify speakers across a large archive. Which would close the circle of archive audio to speaker recognition to Wikimedia voice fingerprint to Wikipedia, DBpedia or Wikidata identifier to Linked Open Data for speakers in an archive.

To do that we’d need longer (duration) and higher quality samples than suggested by the Voice Intro Project. So we’re looking to upload 30-40 second voice samples losslessly encoded as FLAC. We’ve created a few examples:

Mark Carny

Mary Robinson

Justin Welby

Any software we create to do this will be open sourced and (obviously) the voice samples will be openly licenced so other researchers and cultural institutions will be able to use the same methods to annotate audio / video with identified speakers. And hopefully contribute to the project by uploading voice samples from their own archives. By releasing small nuggets of their archives they’d be both improving Wikipedia and putting just enough in place to make the further contextualisation of their (and other) archives possible.

Details of the day

On the day we’ll be giving out access to Snippets, an R&D tool built on top of Redux. Snippets gives access to everything broadcast by the BBC since ~2007. For rights reasons we’ll only be uploading voice samples from the selection of Radio 4 news and factual programmes with permanent availability. A list of permanently available Radio 4 programmes can be found below the original post on the BBC’s website.

Before we meet up it would be good if you could have a listen to some of these programmes and identify interesting people and suitable 30-40 second samples. If you’d like to come along you can sign up to attend here. Please bring along a laptop and some headphones. Food and drink will be provided.

Working Group Community Stories

Katelyn Rogers - November 11, 2013 in Open GLAM, WG Open Product Data, Working Groups

The Open Knowledge Foundation is proud to support over 20 active and incubating working groups, domain specific groups promoting, advocating for and building openness in their respective fields. Here is what some of our working groups have been up to over the past few months!


Open Science:

The Open Science Working Group has welcomed three new Panton Fellows. Meet Samuel Moore, Rosie Grave and Peter Krater, three early career researchers who will spend the next year exploring and supporting the adoption of open research practices in science and other fields of research.

In addition to welcoming these incredible new fellows, the Open Science working group (in collaboration with IDRC and Open-UTC) organised two Open Science for Development workshops, one in Cape Town (see photo above) and one in London. Following from these successful workshops, the working group has been working tirelessly to produce an Open Science for Development Research Framework. At OKcon in September, the working group organised an Open & Citizen Science Hack Day, where they succeeded in attracting both OKcon attendees present in Geneva and remote participants from France, the US, the Netherlands and Germany.

Open Science is spreading across the world! More and more local open science strands are coming together as open science enthusiasts from different corners of the globe are getting together and developing projects in their local community. Now you can join an open science community in Stockholm, Brazil or one of the other local strands of the working group. If you’d like to get involved, introduce yourself on the open science mailing list and follow the group on twitter.

Open Product Data:

Open Product Data is one of the newest Open Knowledge Foundation working groups with the goal of both developing the largest open product database in the world and advocating for increased access to product data. Open product data has the potential to empower consumers, increase efficiency and drive economic growth but at the moment product data, such as a product’s barcode, is public but not open. Since joining the Open Knowledge Foundation only a month ago, our community has already developed an android application for Open Product Data and heard stories of others use our database to further their initiatives.

The working group is organising an event (in collaboration with Hub Westminster and Provenance) in London on November 26th, 2013 in order to bring together a diverse group of people interested in open product data to share what they are building and discuss future collaborations. The daytime event will be focused on the more technical aspects of open product data with discussion topics such as mapping the data source possibilities, hypothesising the future implications of open product data and brainstorming the information architecture necessary for such an endeavour. A separate evening event will bring together manufacturers, retailers and consumer groups to discuss the business model opportunities that a more open product data environment would create.

Find out more about the ambitions of the group here and remember, Open Product Data is a community project, if you want to contribute, join the group on github, say hello on the mailing list and follow everything that they are doing on twitter.


OpenGLAM is now all over the world. 2013 has seen the growth of local OpenGLAM groups organising professional networks that take action and promote the value of open culture within a given region or country (ex US, Switzerland, Austria etc.).

The OpenGLAM Working Group is now also supported by a new set of key network partners including the Digital Public Library of America, LODLAM and the Internet Archive.

The OpenGLAM Working Group has been working hard on a set of principles, which cultural institutions can adopt and endorse in order to make their resources more open to re-use. The OpenGLAM Working Group has been collecting useful research and resources on open cultural data and specifically its measurable impact on cultural institutions. You can check the page where we are gathering together these resources and essential reading for anyone hoping to open up cultural content or data.

OpenGLAM, Open Science and Open Product Data are only three of our 20+ working groups dedicated to making their fields more open! If you would like to get involved, join one of the mailing lists or contact us directly at getinvolved {at} okfn . org and make sure to tune in next month to find out what other groups have been up to.

New Sources and Rights section on The Public Domain Review

Adam Green - August 29, 2013 in Featured, Open GLAM, Public Domain Review

Today sees the announcement of two exciting new developments on The Public Domain Review, changes which centre on better celebrating those institutions which have decided to open up their collections and helping users understand the different rights for reuse that apply to the content.

New sources section

The new sources page – – lists the major sources for material found on The Public Domain Review: both online content aggregators (websites which bring together into one place digital copies from disparate sources) and the content providers themselves (the institutions who will often hold the physical object from which the digital copy has been made).

This list is intended to be at once a celebration of the sources we use in the creation of The Public Domain Review and also a mapping of the current landscape of openly licensed collections, a map which we hope will encourage users to explore these wonderful sources for themselves. We also hope that by highlighting the wealth of institutions that have already opened up their public domain collections, those institutions that have not yet opened up might be encouraged to do so.

Each institution has its own dedicated page which lists their content featured on our site.

New attribution feature and accompanying rights and re-use section

Each collection post on The Public Domain Review now has an accompanying table clearly stating: 1) the source form which the material derives 2) if relevant, a hat-tip to any person or website through which we found the material 3) download links, and 4) information regarding rights and re-use of both the underlying work and the digital copy which we are presenting.

To accompany the “rights and re-use” part of this new feature we have a dedicated page “Rights labelling on our site” which functions to explain some of the terms encountered and, in general, give a helpful overview of the landscape regarding the complex world of rights and re-use relating to public domain works and their digital copies.

We hope that these changes will help give the recognition deserved to the institutions that have taken the bold step of openly licensing their collections, and also that those who appreciate the fruits of this labor will, with more transparency regarding rights, feel more empowered to share and re-use it. If you’re interested in issues around open licensing of cultural content and want to help us build a cultural commons for everyone to use and enjoy, visit

Getty Releases 4,600 Images into the Public Domain

Sam Leon - August 14, 2013 in News, Open GLAM, Public Domain

A depiction of a banquet by 17th Centruy Italian artist, Morazzone, one of the many scans now in the public domain
A depiction of a banquet by 17th Centruy Italian artist, Morazzone, one of the many scans now in the public domain

Cross-posted from the OpenGLAM Blog.

Yesterday the J. Paul Getty Trust launched its Open Content Program which saw the release of 4,600 high-resolution scans of works from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles into the public domain. This means that the digital images in this new release can be downloaded and re-used without restriction and without the need to get permission. The initial release can be browsed here.

The renowned institution has publicly committed to open up the digital images of all works they own and that are in the public domain or to which they own the rights. Getty president and CEO, Jim Cuno, said of the Open Content Program and the Getty’s commitment to openness:

>The Getty was founded to promote ‘the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge’ of the visual arts, and this new program arises directly from that mission. In a world where, increasingly, the trend is toward freer access to more and more information and resources, it only makes sense to reduce barriers to the public to fully experience our collections.

The Getty joins a growing cohort of leading cultural institutions taking steps to open up their public domain holdings on the web. Recent years have seen similar releases from the Walter’s Art Museum, The British Library and the Rijksmuseum. OpenGLAM — the Working Group at the Open Knowledge Foundation dedicated to opening up cultural content and data from Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums around the world — is collecting examples of open collections on the site. If you know of ones we haven’t listed, get in touch via the public mailing list.

We were pleased to see representatives from the Getty at the launch of the US arm of the OpenGLAM Working Group back in March of this year and we hope that the experience of coming together with other institutions keen to see more of their colelctions shared online helped to bolster their support for open content.

On their website the Getty have also signalled that this is the first in a series of open content releases under their Open Content Program. Plans are in the works to release documentation from the Getty’s Conservation Institute’s field projects as well as their world famous vocabularies for describing cultural objects.

It’s fantastic to see an organisation of the Getty’s size and stature making such a move. We hope this will motivate other organisations to take such a bold and positive step towards an open cultural commons which everyone is free to enjoy and re-use. We would also urge the Getty to go further in their Open Content Program and actually start labelling the digital copies of their works available through their website with a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark to further reduced the barriers to re-use.

Network Summit

Naomi Lillie - July 19, 2013 in Network, Open GLAM, Open Government Data, Open Humanities, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Open Science, Our Work, Talks, Working Groups

Twice-yearly the whole community of the Open Knowledge Foundation gathers together to share with, learn from and support one another. The Summer Summit 2013 took place in Cambridge (UK) last week (10th-14th July), with staff updates on the Thursday and network representatives joining on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It was so inspiring to hear what our network has been doing to further the Open movement recently and over the last 6 months!

We heard from Local Groups about how these groups have been effecting change in all our locations around the world:

  • Alberto for OKFN Spain has been promoting open transparency in budgets, including their own, and using the power of events to gather people;
  • OKFN Taiwan, represented by TH (who we believe travelled the furthest to be with us in person), has also been investing in many large events, including one event for developers and others attracting 2,000 people! They have also been supporting local and central governments on open data regulation;
  • Charalampos of OKFN Greece highlighted the recent support of their works by Neelie Kroes, and took us through which maps accidents using data from police departments and census data along with crowd-sourced data;
  • Pierre at OKF France reported that they have been helping redesign the national open data portal, as well as developing an open data portal for children and young people which kids which may align well with School of Data;
  •, the Swiss Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation of course is hosting OKCon in September, and Hannes updated on exciting developments here. He also reported on work to lobby and support government by developing visualisations of budget proposals, developing a federal-level open data strategy and policy, and promoting a national open data portal. Thanks to their efforts, a new law was accepted on open weather data, with geodata next up;
  • David updated on OKFN Australia where there is support from government to further the strong mandate for open scientific data. The newspaper the Age has been a firm ally, making data available for expenses and submissions to political parties, and a project to map Melbourne bicycle routes was very successful;
  • Francesca of OKF Italy has been working alongside Open Streetmap and Wikimedia Italy, as well as with parliament on the Open Transport manifesto. They have also been opening up ecological data, from “spaghetti open data”;
  • OKFN Netherlands was represented by Kersti, who reported a shared sense of strength in open government data and open development, as well as in the movement Open for Change (where OKCon is listed as the top ‘Open Development Event’!);
  • Dennis, for OKF Ireland, has been pushing the local events and gathering high-profile ‘rock stars’ of the open data world as well as senior government representatives. He has also presented on open data in parliament;
  • OKF Scotland is a growing grassroots community, as conveyed by Ewan – an Open Data Day asserted the importance of connecting to established grassroots communities who are already doing interesting things with data. They are also working closely with government to release data and organised local hackdays with children and young people;
  • Bill joined us remotely to update on OKF Hong Kong, where regular meet-ups and hackdays are providing a great platform for people to gather around open knowledge. Although not able to join us in person (like Everton / Tom from OKF Brasil) Bill was keen to report that OKF Hong Kong will be represented at OKCon!
  • OKF Austria‘s update was given by Walter, who informed us that transport data is now properly openly licensed and that several local instances of the international Working Groups have been set up. Which segues nicely, as…

It wasn’t just during the planned sessions where community-building and networking occurred: despite the scorching 30°C (86°F) heat – somewhat warmer than the Winter Summit in January! – people made the most of lunchtimes and breaks to share ideas and plan.

We also heard from Working Groups about how crossing international boundaries is making a difference to Open for all of us:

  • Open Sustainability was represented by Jack who explained Cleanweb (an initiative to use clean technologies for good, engaging with ESPA to open up data) and has set up @opensusty on Twitter as a communication route for anyone wanting to connect;
  • Ben, newly involved with Open Development, explained about the group’s plans to make IATI‘s released data useful, and bringing together existing initiatives to create a data revolution;
  • Open Science, represented by Ross, has been very active with lobbying and events, with the mailing list constantly buzzing with discussions on open data, licensing and convincing others;
  • Daniel explained that Open Government Data, being one of the largest groups with 924 mailing list members, has provided an important role as being at the heart of the Open Government Data movement, as a place for people to go to for questions and – hopefully! – answers. Daniel will be stepping down, so get in touch if you would like to help lead this group; in the meantime, the Steering Committee will be helping support the group;
  • OpenGLAM has also developed an Advisory Board, said Joris. There is good global reach for Open GLAM advocacy, and people are meeting every month. Documents, case studies, slide-decks and debates are available to new joiners to get started, and the Austrian instance of the Working Group demonstrated the process works. (Joris has now sadly left Open Knowledge Foundation ‘Central’, but we are delighted he will stay on as volunteer Coordinator for this group!);
  • Public Domain, with Primavera reporting, has been working on Public Domain Calculators in partnership with the government. PD Remix launched in France in May, and Culture de l’Europe will present at OKCon;
  • Primavera also updated on Open Design, where future planning has taken priority. The Open Design Definition has been a highlight but funding would help further activity and there are plans to seek this proactively. Chuff, the Open Knowledge Foundation Mascot, was pleased to get a mention…

It should be noted that these activities and updates are brief highlights only – distilling the activities of our groups into one or two sentences each is very much unrepresentative of the amount of things we could talk about here!

We also made time for socialising at the Summit, and much fun was had with Scrabble, playing frisbee and punting – not to mention celebrating Nigel‘s birthday!

As an aside, I was going to state that “we only need an Antarctic representative and the Open Knowledge Foundation will have all seven continents in our network”; however, it appears there is no definitive number of continents or agreed land-masses! An amalgamated list is Africa (Africa/Middle East and North Africa), America (Central/North/South), Antarctica, Australia (Australia/Oceania) and Eurasia (Europe/Asia)… but, however you wish to define the global divisions (and isn’t it pleasing that it’s difficult to do so?), Antarctica is the only area the Open Knowledge Foundation is not represented! Are you reading this from an outstation at the South Pole, or know someone there, and want to contribute to open knowledge? Apply to become an Ambassador and be the person to cement the Open Knowledge Foundation as the fully global demonstration of the Open movement.

If you’re in an unrepresented area – geographic or topic – we’d love to hear from you, and if you’re in a represented area we’d love to put you in touch with others. Get Involved and connect with the Open Knowledge Foundation Network – and maybe we’ll see you at the next Summit!

Images 1, 4-7 and front page: Velichka Dimitrova. Images 2 and 3: Marieke Guy, CC-BY-NC-ND

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