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2 minutes to read Posted on Monday June 17, 2013

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Historypin joins Europeana in adoption of CC0 licensing of metadata

Guest blog by Jon Voss, Strategic Partnerships Director at Historypin.

Historypin is a non-profit project dedicated to the sharing and discovery of historical content, and the fostering of community around local history. Our ongoing participation in the Europeana Network, and our involvement in global efforts such as the Linked Open Data in Libraries Archives and Museums Summits, have led to our decision to make Historypin metadata available to the public under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Back in 2010, when Historypin was just getting off the ground, we had a vision of sharing the millions of photos, home movies, and audio recordings stored in shoeboxes and attics around the world in order to build community and conversation around local history. We found that individuals were excited to contribute to the historical record and were discovering that their own time-worn snapshots had an important role to play in community memory, alongside a growing number of archival collections.

Today, in addition to over 48,000 registered users and half a million app downloads, there are over 1,200 institutions around the world contributing content to Historypin, from school groups and local historical societies, to national libraries and archives. We’re running projects with and for cultural heritage institutions, public television programmes, and commercial partners. We’ve won prestigious awards for our design. We’re participating in major research projects to improve the way in which academics engage with the public in humanities research. But what’s most important is that we’re actively participating in a global community that’s finding new ways to share, improve, and build upon cultural heritage data — and the example and precedent set by Europeana. It’s leading to innovative new products, unique community engagement strategies and evolving research methodologies.

'Troop Mobilisation, WWI' - public domain content from National Library of France (BNF).

Collaborating with Europeana not only opens the door to significantly increase the amount of European cultural heritage content on Historypin, but also to allow the public to engage with that content in exciting new ways. It’s critical that we make it possible for those interactions to be captured in ways that can be most useful for the contributing institutions, researchers, search engines and the general public alike.

'Auto wreck', a colourised photo of public domain content, shared and pinned on Historypin.

In May, we took an important step towards one of our key goals of diversifying and enriching the holdings of global cultural heritage institutions. Nick Stanhope, CEO of We Are What We Do (the creators of Historypin), said, 'By making metadata on Historypin available as CC0, we’re aligning our metadata licensing with Europeana and other global projects, and joining the effort to maximize the re-use and discovery of cultural heritage assets in a way that everyone can benefit from and build upon.'

We look forward to continuing on this path with Europeana and the global community engaged in helping make cultural heritage accessible to all.

Jon Voss is the Historypin Strategic Partnerships Director. Together with global collaborators and the Historypin team, he’s helping to build an open ecosystem of historical data across libraries, archives, and museums worldwide. His innovative work at the intersection of technology and cultural memory is also getting him closer to his childhood dream of perfecting time travel.