Workshop says Europeana should push copyright reform
The third strategy workshop for the Europeana Network took place on 21 November. After workshops on Distribution and Aggregation, it was ‘Facilitation’ that was on the agenda this time. What do we mean by 'Facilitation'? Well, it's everything between aggregation - the process of bringing material in - and distribution - the various ways of getting it out. This is quite broad so we started off by defining what the Facilitation team of Europeana does by looking at its successes and weaknesses.
Discussions at one of the strategy workshops. Europeana, CC BY-SA
The major success that attendees mentioned was last year's switch of all Europeana's metadata to the CC0 Public Domain Dedication Waiver last year. This was a big step for open cultural data in Europe and managed to set a standard for many institutions and other large initiatives like the Digital Public Library of America. This work has been essential in pushing the cultural heritage sector forward to where it is now.
Discussing this move, it was clear that the shift has been of high importance, but has also taken an incredible amount of work to convince institutions that this was the right decision, and some institutions have become less willing to provide high quality data. There was also the question of sustainability and scalability. How can the best practices that Europeana sets be picked up by others and replicated?
The second half of the workshop tried to answer the question, 'What should Europeana focus on in the next few years?' The participants agreed that Europeana should increase its policy work on a European level to push for copyright reform. This is still the main issue that concerns Europeana partners when deciding whether and how to make their data available online. The European copyright landscape is completely scattered and it is almost impossible to give 100% clarity on copyright-related issues. Other goals mentioned were: to make sure that material in the public domain remains in the public domain after it is digitised; and changing the mentality of institutions towards open access to their collections.
Knowledge sharing was also mentioned a lot during the day. Europeana is a pioneer and setting many good examples. However, these are not always shared in the best possible way with the Network. In almost all institutions, the same major issues occur when it comes to making their collections available. By sharing examples and solutions better, we can work more closely together and make sure the wheel is not reinvented over and over again. For this reason, we should look at sharing not only information generated by Europeana, but also at becoming a hub for other institutions to share their information, solutions and opinions for others to build on.
The Facilitation workshop was the third workshop in a series of four. Although some clear directions for Europeana were drawn, no conclusions have yet been taken. We will look at the results of all our consultations and then define our goals for 2020 and our routes to achieving them. Stay tuned!