Podcast: How ‘open access’ helped SMK Denmark to increase reach & audience engagement

“Over the last decade, many museums around the world have adopted an open access policy. From the US to Europe, the opening up of museums has meant that anybody can use, reuse, remix collections without any copyright restrictions. At the core of open access is the commitment to make heritage accessible for people regardless of conduct social or geographical barriers. For museums, this move has contributed immensely to brand-building and added social value. But how?

The National Gallery of Denmark (the Statens Museum for Kunst, aka SMK) in Copenhagen is one of the premier art museums of the country and home to several European art treasures. In this podcast, I spoke with Jonas Heide Smith – Head of Digital at SMK about their approach, learnings and challenges. Give it a listen or read on for the key takeaways….”

CRL and East View Release Third Open Access Collection | CRL

“CRL and East View Information Services have released the Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers

(link is external), the third Open Access collection of titles digitized under the Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance. This collection adds to the growing collection of Open Access material(link is external) available through East View’s Global Press Archive program.

The Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers collection, with a preliminary release of 135,000 pages from 477 titles, will ultimately include approximately 1,000 titles from Mexico’s pre-independence, independence and revolutionary periods (1807-1929). The collection traces the evolution of Mexico during this pivotal period and provides rare documentation of the dramatic events of this era, including coverage of Mexican partisan politics, yellow press, political and social satire, as well as local, regional, national and international news….”

Towards a National Collection | Collections United

“Funded by UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, Towards a National Collection is supporting research that breaks down the barriers that exist between the UK’s outstanding cultural heritage collections, with the aim of opening them up to new research opportunities and encouraging the public to explore them in new ways….

Collections United is a social media campaign connecting and highlighting the rich and diverse range of cultural heritage collections across the UK. The aim is to bring together material from more than one collection, telling the stories that connect them, and encouraging the public to do the same….”

Endangered Archives Programme |

“The Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) facilitates the digitisation of archives around the world that are in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration. Thanks to generous funding from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, we have provided grants to more than 400 projects in 90 countries worldwide, in over 100 languages and scripts.

Since 2004, the Programme has digitised over eight million images and 25,000 sound tracks. Archive types digitised so far include rare printed sources, manuscripts, visual materials, audio recordings. This continually expanding online collection is available freely through local archival partners, this website and it is discoverable via the British Library catalogue, for research, inspiration and enjoyment….”

NEMO report on digitisation and copyright – challenges of making museum collections accessible online: NEMO – Network of European Museum Organisations

“In order to identify challenges that museums in Europe encounter when digitising their collections and establishing online access to them, NEMO conducted a survey on digitisation and copyright. The findings and recommendations have been gathered in a report….”

London’s National Gallery was hit by the biggest art heist in history | WIRED UK

“London’s National Gallery owns some of the most famous (and expensive) artworks in the world: Van Gogh’s Sunflowers; one of da Vinci’s most famous altarpieces; 15 paintings by Botticelli. But on Sunday at midnight, the collection was the victim of an audacious heist, one that included all but two of its pieces.

Whisked from the confines of their Trafalgar Square home, the paintings began to pop up in museums almost instantly, via Russia, France, Japan and Australia. The Ambassadors, by Hans Holbein the Younger, ended up behind shimmering white guardrails, the room softly glowing with rainbow spotlights. Sunflowers appeared in several locations: in a gold frame on a blue brocaded wall, surrounded by bronze columns, for example, or in a tiled entrance lobby beneath a luxurious balcony. 

The smuggling, after all, was a digital one: the artworks now available for anyone with PC and a Steam account to hang in their private collections in the game Occupy White Walls (OWW). Photoshop (rather than a scalpel) was used to cut the pictures from their frames. And instead of smashed glass, balaclavas and a disarmed alarm system, all this heist took was Javascript, an open-source tool called “Dezoomify” and some manual data sorting.

“I like to think of it as liberation,” Yarden Yaroshevski, CEO of Stikipixels, who created the game, explains….”

Premier Religious School Donates Quarter of a Million Volumes to Internet Archive’s Open Library – Internet Archive Blogs

“Scholars will soon have online access to 250,000 research volumes from a premier theological school, thanks to a donation from the Claremont School of Theology to the Internet Archive. 

Strengths of the collection include Comparative Theology and Philosophy, Feminist Theology, and Afro-Carribean spirituality. In addition to the 250,000 volumes, the library is donating its Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection, the world’s largest collection of images of ancient religious (Jewish and Christian, biblical and extra-biblical) manuscripts, currently housed on microfilm. Half to three quarters of the collection contains images of manuscripts which are not currently available on the web from any provider. …

So the Board of Trustees authorized a donation to the Internet Archive so the 250,000 piece collection could be placed in the Internet Archive’s Open Library for controlled digital lending, and the Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection can be mobilized and made available online. The Internet Archive will find funding for the digitization and long-term preservation of the collections. …”

Premier Religious School Donates Quarter of a Million Volumes to Internet Archive’s Open Library – Internet Archive Blogs

“Scholars will soon have online access to 250,000 research volumes from a premier theological school, thanks to a donation from the Claremont School of Theology to the Internet Archive. 

Strengths of the collection include Comparative Theology and Philosophy, Feminist Theology, and Afro-Carribean spirituality. In addition to the 250,000 volumes, the library is donating its Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection, the world’s largest collection of images of ancient religious (Jewish and Christian, biblical and extra-biblical) manuscripts, currently housed on microfilm. Half to three quarters of the collection contains images of manuscripts which are not currently available on the web from any provider. …

So the Board of Trustees authorized a donation to the Internet Archive so the 250,000 piece collection could be placed in the Internet Archive’s Open Library for controlled digital lending, and the Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection can be mobilized and made available online. The Internet Archive will find funding for the digitization and long-term preservation of the collections. …”

Passenger Pigeon Manifesto – A call to GLAMs – Google Docs

“A call to public GLAM institutions to liberate our cultural heritage. Illustrated with the cautionary tales of extinct animals and our lack of access to what remains of them….

We are supposed to learn from history yet we don’t have access to it. Historical photographs of extinct animals are among the most important artefacts to teach and inform about human impact on nature. But where to look when one wants to see all that is left of these beings? Where can I access all the extant photos of the thylacine or the passenger pigeon?

Historical photos are kept by archives, libraries, museums. Preservation, which is the goal of cultural institutions, means ensuring not only the existence of but the access to historical material. It is the opposite of owning: it’s sustainable sharing. Similarly, conservation is not capturing and caging but providing the conditions and freedom to live.

In reality, most historical photos are not freely available to the public – despite being in public domain. We might be able to see thumbnails or medium size previews scattered in numerous online catalogs but most of the time we don’t get to see them in full quality and detail. In general, they are hidden, the memory of their existence slowly going extinct.

The knowledge and efforts of these institutions are crucial in tending our cultural landscape but they cannot become prisons to our history. Instead of claiming ownership, their task is to provide unrestricted access and free use.

In reality, most historical photos are not freely available to the public – despite being in public domain. We might be able to see thumbnails or medium size previews scattered in numerous online catalogs but most of the time we don’t get to see them in full quality and detail. In general, they are hidden, the memory of their existence slowly going extinct….”