48. On Planetary in 2020: curatorial activism and open sourcing in service of digital preservation – Fresh and New

“Perhaps the most experimental aspect of Planetary’s acquisition was the fact that the museum released the source code online with an open license, allowing anyone to copy the code and modify it and adapt their copy to suit their interests. The intention of open-sourcing the code was to open the door to passionate fans of Planetary so they could aid in its long-term preservation and maintenance….

The longer term value of open sourcing the code, rather than inheriting the default closed source model (which is the case with almost all software acquisitions into museum collections) also lies in clarity that it provides for future generations….

During the acquisition process of Planetary, substantial work was done with Smithsonian’s General Counsel and the developers formerly Bloom LLC, to enable the open sourcing which has overall benefits for future preservation activities. The generosity of the developers and their efforts to prepare the source for release cannot be underestimated. By defaulting to open source at the time of acquisition means that future presertvation or presentation activities, emulation or other efforts cannot be stymied in the future by more conservative legal counsel, curators, or conservators at the museum….”

Bringing Open GLAM to the world, and the world to Open GLAM | by scann | Open GLAM | Jul, 2020 | Medium

“The call is still open if you want to submit a proposal for a story. We’re evaluating stories on a “first come, first served” basis and we’ll be reaching our limit of stories soon! Don’t overthink it: just send us a title, a short summary of what you want to write, and make sure that your project or case study complies with the Open Definition.

We want to thank Creative Commons for its generous support for the CC Open GLAM Platform; the CC Open GLAM Platform community that reviewed our plans for this year; and the selection committee made up of Douglas McCarthy, co-editor of this publication, Mariana Ziku and Franziska Latell.”

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….”

How much does Open GLAM cost? Budget and impact of Open Access Registration, Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite

“The impact that the COVID crisis is having on GLAM budgets is raising concerns among professionals and leadership. There is more demand for delivering and providing digital services and assets, but at the same time many budgets are shrinking. Digital departments are under increasing pressure to figure out how to connect the institution with users.


In this context, what does the future of Open GLAM look like? What strategies can be implemented for advancing Open Access to collections (“Open GLAM”) on a budget? How can people come up with new strategies and ideas to still open up their collections while maintaining healthy financial and human resources?


In this webinar, Effie, Nicole and Dafydd will talk about the value of opening up in times of crisis, different business models for providing open access to collections, and how its positive impact feeds back into the support for openness….”

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….”

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….”

13 artworks by DAG Museums are now “Open Access” ! | GIF-IT-UP India #OpenGLAM

“The OpenGLAM world [galleries, libraries, archives, museums] just got richer by 13 historic artworks from India thanks to the folks at DAG Museums. Now that might sound like a small number, but for India, this is a huge step towards providing Open Access.

These high-resolution artworks have been released by DAG as part of India’s first ever GIF-IT-UP Challenge. These are now free for you to download and use as you wish, without any fear of breaking copyright laws. The CC by SA license allows you to use and alter an image even for commercial purposes, as long as you give credit and license your new work under the identical terms.”

2,500 rare texts from Islamic world to go online for free | Books | The Guardian

“More than 2,500 rare manuscripts and books from the Islamic world covering a period of more than a thousand years are to be made freely available online.

The National Library of Israel (NLI) in Jerusalem is digitising its world-class collection of items in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, dating from the ninth to the 20th centuries, including spectacularly beautiful Qur’ans and literary works decorated with gold leaf and lapis lazuli….”