Prussian Frigate SMS Thetis

After the success of open everything Berlin last December (see documentation), the newthinking network and CC Salon Berlin teamed up to put on another event in Berlin last night:

I was invited to speak – and gave an overview of the Open Knowledge Foundation, our projects, events, the background and rationale behind the Open Knowledge Definition, and a quick walkthrough of CKAN.

After me was Sebastian Moleski from Wikimedia Deutschland talking about the large donation of images from the German Federal Archives to Wikimedia Commons:

Starting on Thursday Dec 4, 2008, Wikimedia Commons witnessed a massive upload of new images. We received nearly 100,000 files from a donation from the German Federal Archives. These images are mostly related to the history of Germany (including the German Democratic Republic) and are part of a cooperation between Wikimedia Germany and the Federal Archives.

These images are licensed Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License (CC-BY-SA). Wikimedia Germany and the Federal Archives have signed a cooperation agreement that, among other things, asserts that the Federal Archives owns sufficient rights to be able to grant this kind of license.

The donation received good press coverage (see articles in the New York Times, and Spiegel Online) and is an outstanding example of a cultural heritage institution making material available under an open license. (The other high-profile example is Flickr Commons. There’s an interesting blog post comparing the two here.)

To demonstrate CKAN in action, I created a commons-bundesarchiv entry for the collection.

Another interesting project I learned about was Valkaama – a movie where all the source material is openly licensed. (The creators have also been working on an Open Source Film Definition.)

If you’re in or around Berlin and interested in participating in similar events in the future, there’s a list of future events on the the Open Everything Berlin Mixxt Network. Also, if you want to stay in touch with people interested in all things open, see:

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.