By Liam Wyatt, Europeana GLAM-Wiki Coordinator
Several years in development, this tool gives cultural organisations the ability to mass-upload their own images, videos and sound recordings to Wikimedia Commons in the same way that they have done with other platforms like Flickr for years. For the first time GLAMs can mass-upload content without needing bespoke software, without external assistance required, with their own metadata, and at their own pace.
Piazza di Monte Citorio, Rome, Italy, Library of Congress, available on Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain
Once multimedia is uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, it becomes available to all 287 language editions of Wikipedia. Images, videos and sound recordings are displayed in the immediate context of encyclopedic knowledge, adding to the understanding of that content in a non-commercial and neutral space. And, being the 5th most visited website in the world means that this material can be viewed in its new educational context by a far larger audience than ever before. With the tailored attribution that the new tool provides, Wikipedia readers wanting to learn more are only two clicks away from visiting the home institution’s website. Many GLAMs already report that Wikipedia-derived traffic is one of the most important providers of inbound traffic, sharing multimedia increases that flow dramatically. You can see the image view statistics for GLAM collections on Wikipedia for yourself!
The launch of this tool is just the beginning. In the coming months, Europeana will help to introduce its GLAM partners to their local Wikimedia community so that the newly uploaded content can begin being used to illustrate Wikipedia articles in as many languages as possible. Recently, the Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid (Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision) became the first cultural organisation to directly take advantage of this new tool, uploading 500 videos from birds in the Netherlands, generously donated by Stichting Natuurbeelden (the Foundation for Nature Footage).
Within just one week, the Wikimedia community has responded to the challenge - translated titles, added appropriate categories and placed almost half of the videos in Wikipedia articles. One dedicated Wikipedian, Taketa, has already ensured that this video of a Eurasian Spoonbill is used to illustrate over 50 languages!
Material from several other cultural organisations from around the world have also already found their way onto Wikimedia Commons, and thereby to Wikipedia articles, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Wikimedia Community. For example Fae, a volunteer Wikimedian in London, has already uploaded 12,000 maps from the New York Public Library, 10,000 Photocrom prints from the Library of Congress, 2,000 images of Japanese art from the Rijksmuseum and 130,000 photographs from the Historical American Buildings Survey (a collection planned to reach 250,000 over the the next few weeks) with this tool - all beautifully digitised by the respective GLAMs and now available to be used in Wikipedia. Many other large collections are in various stages of upload with more arriving all the time.
The GLAMwiki Toolset has been developed and funded in partnership with four national Wikimedia chapters (UK, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland) and Europeana. Europeana works to make European culture accessible to all, and encourages the re-use of public domain digital content by researchers, educators, the creative industries and the wider public. The tool fulfills this objective by helping GLAMs to share their appropriately licensed content with Wikipedia users and disseminate valuable digital items of cultural heritage.
If you have a collection of digitised and freely-licensed multimedia and are interested in making it available to a global audience, please get in touch with us. Or, if you’d like to get started directly follow the instructions on the Beeld en Geluid blogpost, or on the documentation page.
By Paul Keller, Kennisland
On 4 July, Scottish-American law scholar James Boyle called on cultural heritage institutions to focus on providing everyone with as broad as possible access to public domain material. Boyle is the director of the Center for the study of the Public Domain at Duke Law school and author of The Public Domain. In his lecture he explains that ‘this is worthwhile not merely because it is the right thing to do’ but also because it ‘will yield all kinds of benefits which are very hard for us to see right now’.
As custodians of our shared cultural heritage, institutions serve one of the most noble causes there is and he called on them to preach their principles louder. For Boyle, this is not only important to ensure that cultural heritage does not gets locked away by the unintended consequences of of copyright laws that were not designed for the cultural heritage 2.0, but also in order to more forcefully make the case for more funding from public and private sources. Boyle’s full lecture, and the debate that followed can now be seen online.
This lecture was followed by a reaction by Marjan Hammersma from the Dutch Ministry of Education Culture and Science, and a question & answer session with Boyle and Hammersma.
This article was written as part of Europeana’s #PublicDomainMonth - a month dedicated to sharing knowledge, best practices and events all related to the Public Domain. You can read and share the full Public Domain Charter. You can also get involved by following #PublicDomainMonth and @EuropeanaIPR on Twitter.
By Joris Pekel, Europeana Community Coordinator Cultural Heritage
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 15-16 July in Berlin, and was attended by more than 1000 people from all over the world who gathered to talk about open data, transparency, development and many other topics.
The principles of a healthy and thriving Public Domain are established in the Europeana Public Domain Charter, as essential to the social and economic wellbeing of society.(You can read our Introduction to this here). During this workshop we explored how cultural institutions can work towards maintaining the public domain as a valuable source of knowledge.
The session started with Kennisland’s Paul Keller presenting the difficulties for institutions to define if an object is in the public domain or not. Thanks to complex international, European and national copyright laws, calculating when an object is in the public domain ranges from simple to the complex. Cultural heritage institutions, who are required to make decisions based on copyright, do not typically employ copyright law experts. This lack of clarity combined with lack of very specific expertise can often result in an organisational policy, which restricts the use of digital objects by incorrectly claiming copyright allows them to do so.
If we stick with the strict interpretation of law, we run the risk of losing access to valuable cultural heritage material. So when should exceptions be ok? Paul went on to present a number of case studies where it is debatable whether this type of organisational policy is acceptable or not, such as the recent release from the Wellcome Library, where over 100.000 images were made available in high quality using the Creative Commons Attribution Licence. While on the one hand it is applauded that these images are made available for anyone to use in an open way, it does not acknowledge that the material is out of copyright, and therefore cannot be made available under a copyright licence. For more details see the presentation slides below.
As we delve deeper into the issues, we turned to look at the application of copyright law itself. Thomas Margoni from the Institute for Information Law in Amsterdam presented his ongoing research, which queries when a digital reproduction of an existing (protected or unprotected by copyright) object gives rise to a new object that can claim copyright and/or related rights. This research reviews EU laws to address the different ways in which legal exceptions are applied. The preliminary results are available in the slides below.
The many exceptions in the different European Member States make it difficult to come to a common approach. This is a challenge for both the cultural sector, as well as the organisations that work towards more openly available cultural content on the web. Would applying CC-BY licence be acceptable in order to make beautiful material, that was previously unavailable to the public, available online? Or should organisations like Europeana take a firm stand against this? One idea proposed in the workshop was an ‘Open GLAM Scorecard’ for open datasets which can be used to rank the set. This way it can be acknowledged that an institution is doing good work, but it can also be used to point out things that could be done better in order to receive a full green status of ‘open’.
This workshop was the kickoff of the broader discussion. In the coming period these ideas will be further explored with the wider GLAM community to see of this would work, and if so, how the ranking should be done. If you are interested in this discussion please join the mailing list. All the notes taken during the session can be found here.
Earlier this month, the Europeana Cloud project travelled to the LIBER 2014 conference in Riga, Latvia to present a poster about our project.
Feel free to download the poster and use it at your events. It has a CC-BY license, which means all material can be freely re-used for any purpose.