Europeana Launches Rights Labelling Campaign

This guest post from Paul Keller, vice chair of Kennisland, introduces Europeana's new 'Rights Labelling Campaign'.

In 2012, Europeana transitioned towards the new Europeana Licensing Framework. The most notable aspect of this transition was the release of Europeana metadata under the CC0 waiver in early September.  2013 began with the Europeana portal containing 23,595,557 metadata records that are freely available for re-use.

While making Europeana metadata available for re-use was the most visible change that came with the new licensing framework, it is not the only one. The new licensing framework also introduced rules for communicating the rights status of the digital objects to which the metadata in Europeana refers. The Europeana Data Exchange Agreement requires that data providers communicate the rights status of their objects by providing a rights statement through the 'europeana:rights' field. Data providers can choose from a predefined set of rights statements that cover the entire rights spectrum from Public Domain works to copyrighted works for which the rights holder reserves all rights and everything, such as Creative Commons licences, in-between.

The obligation to provide these rights statements is relatively new (the 'europeana:rights' field was only made mandatory with Europeana Semantic Elements version 3.4 from 31.03.2011) and as a result, not all metadata records in Europeana carry rights information about the digital objects to which they refer . The chart below shows the changing levels of rights statements as a proportion of the published metadata, on a monthly basis over the course of 2012.  We, together with our data providers, have made good progress in reducing the amount of metadata records without rights statements. But at the end of 2012, 36% of all metadata records were still missing rights information.

Rights Labelling Campaign

Having good quality rights information about the objects that are available through Europeana is essential. We need to be able to communicate to our end-users if and how they can re-use the material that is being aggregated and published. Teachers need to know if they can use material they find via Europeana in the classroom or in readers. Publishers need this information if they wish to re-publish material they find via Europeana, and app developers and third-party services need rights information to ensure that services they build using the Europeana API do not infringe copyright. At the same time, good quality rights metadata improves the overall quality of the metadata and makes it a more valuable resource for all data providers and aggregators.

To address this, Europeana is starting a rights labelling campaign. Over the next couple of months, we will work with our data providers to ensure that all objects that are available via Europeana carry a valid rights statement. Throughout 2012, Kennislandand Europeana analysed the collections in Europeana with regards to the presence and quality of rights statements (summarised in this report, full research data here). Based on this analysis, we will approach data providers in two phases:

●     In the first phase we will approach data providers who have provided collections that can be improved relatively easily. This means collections that are lacking rights statements for all records or collections where we have reason to believe that they carry the wrong rights statement for all records (for example a Creative Commons licence when the collection should be labelled as Public Domain). We will be asking data providers to review their collections and if they agree with our analysis to add/change the rights information. Once this has been done, the collections will be re-ingested into Europeana.

●     In a second phase, we will approach data providers who have provided collections that we consider more difficult to improve. This refers to collection with different rights statements applying to different objects. We will provide data providers with as much information as possible with regards to which parts of the collections need updating and will be working with them in doing so. Once both parties have concluded that the rights statements are correct, these collections will be re-ingested into Europeana.

We understand that this process will require efforts from all parties involved and we hope to make it as smooth as possible. We aim to finish the first phase before the summer (which means that all datasets in Europeana should carry rights statements by then) and conclude the second phase by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, the ingestion team is ensuring that all new collections that are ingested into Europeana carry rights statuses in line with the Europeana Licensing Framework.

If you have questions, suggestions or feedback about the rights labelling campaign, please get in touch with us via licensing@europeana.eu

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Posted on 1/30/13 9:49 AM.

Nick Poole
Thanks for this very useful update Paul. Regarding the overall strategy, there is an important point which I made at yesterday's Europeana Network Officer's meeting, and which I will rehearse here.

In many cases, Europeana depends on a network of aggregators for its supply of metadata, both from national and thematic communities. It will commonly be the case that there is an agreement in place between the content provider and the aggregator covering a range of distribution scenarios, of which Europeana is only one.

It is important that in pursuing the Rights Labelling campaign, Europeana works with the aggregators as intermediaries so as to avoid disrupting the agreements between the aggregator and the cultural institution. Aggregators also have an important potential role to play both in checking the quality of rights metadata as it passes through them en route to Europeana and in applying the Europeana rights framework in partnership with their participating organisations.

I suppose this is a long way of saying that the two actions described in your post seem to bypass the aggregators and go straight to the institutions. There is a risk here of disrupting existing agreements which go beyond Europeana. We need to ensure that the aggregators are brought into the process and are able to support it so that the resulting solution is sustainable for the long-term.

Posted on 2/6/13 5:28 PM.

Julia Fallon
Hi Nick – thank you for posting your comments.

I should first start by pointing out that this blog post is describing the overall process the Rights Labelling Campaign will be following, and not necessarily the detail of the operation.

Your comments raise an important point – and I should like to take this opportunity to clarify that we will be contacting data providers via the channel that their collections were provided. So if a data provider submits their collection directly to Europeana we will be contacting them directly. Where a collection is highlighted in the campaign and has been ingested via an aggregator, we will be approaching the aggregator for their support in helping to address the issues we have identified. There are of course scenarios where aggregators no longer exist or a project has finished since a collection has been ingested – to manage these scenarios we combine the knowledge of our operations and business development teams to identify the best organisation to approach.

Over the coming year, we will be working very closely with aggregators as they may well require additional support to meet the requests made of them under the Rights Labelling Campaign. This may be in the form of supporting documentation or attending workshops to help data providers understand how to identify the correct rights statements for their collections.

Kind Regards,


Posted on 2/7/13 4:31 PM in reply to Nick Poole.

[...] In 2013 Europeana, together with Kennisland, set out on an extensive Rights Labelling Campaign to ensure that digital objects available via Europeana are labelled with correct rights statements. With... [...] Read More

Posted on 2/26/14 3:47 PM.

[...] When the rights labelling campaign started in 2013, more than 50% of all the material in Europeana did not include a rights statement even though rights labels have been mandatory since 2012. After a... [...] Read More

Posted on 5/22/14 12:40 PM.

[...] When the rights labelling campaign started in 2013, more than 50% of all the material in Europeana did not include a rights statement even though rights labels have been mandatory since 2012. After a... [...] Read More

Posted on 5/22/14 12:40 PM.

[...] When the rights labelling campaign started in 2013,  more than 50% of all the material in Europeana did not include a rights statement even though rights labels have been mandatory since 2012. After a... [...] Read More

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[...] [this is an automated post] http://pro.europeana.eu/pro-blog/-/blogs/1494947 Share this: Related [...] Read More

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The Europeana Professional Blog is for people working in the field of digital cultural heritage. For more information or to contribute, contact susan.muthalaly@europeana.eu.

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