The K.Top: 18,000 digitised maps and views released – Maps and views blog

“Today we release 18,000 digital images of historic maps, views and texts from the Topographical Collection of King George III into the public domain.

The collection has been digitised as part of a seven-year project to catalogue, conserve and digitise the collection which was presented to the Nation in 1823 by King George IV. This is the first of two planned image releases.

The images are made available on the image sharing site Flickr, which links to fully searchable catalogue records on Explore the British Library….”

New: Open Artstor: Images from the History of Medicine (National Library of Medicine) – Artstor

“Artstor has published nearly 42,000 images from the U. S. National Library of Medicine’s Images from the History of Medicine, freely available to all for reuse under the Creative Commons Public Domain mark. Open Artstor: Images from the History of Medicine (National Library of Medicine) is part of an initiative to aggregate open museum, library, and archive collections across disciplines on the Artstor platform….”

Passenger Pigeon Manifesto

“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? History books use photos to help us relate to narratives and see a shared reality. But how can we look through our own communities’ photographic heritage, share it with each other and use it for research and education?

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

Even though most of our tangible cultural heritage has not been digitised yet, a process greatly hindered by the lack of resources for professionals, we could already have much to look at online. In reality, a significant portion of already digitised historical photos is not available freely to the public – despite being in the public domain. We might be able to see thumbnails or medium sized previews scattered throughout 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. Cultural heritage should not be accessible only for those who can afford paying for it….”

Documentary Archaeology of Late Medieval Europe (DALME)

“The DALME project and team are based in the Department of History at Harvard University with collaborations extending across North America and Europe. Working in the interests of documentary archaeology, we transcribe and publish archival documents that identify ordinary household objects, tools, equipment, commodities, and other elements of material culture. Team members and collaborators include archaeologists, art historians, historians, and literary scholars. We are eager to extend our collaborations with all scholars interested in the material culture of late medieval Europe; please reach out to us.

Our work is currently sorted into two major research initiatives or documentary corpora. Households and Things in Medieval Europe features household or estate inventories from a number of regions of Europe. The Object as Commodity presents information relative to object values and the role that objects can serve as commodities or economic goods. Within each corpus, members of the DALME team and project associates have created individual collections defined either by geography or theme.

The existing collections include records in Latin and a number of vernaculars. These collections are fully searchable in their original languages; our Search page offers suggestions on how to search, filter, or browse the collection.”

Documentary Archaeology of Late Medieval Europe (DALME)

“The DALME project and team are based in the Department of History at Harvard University with collaborations extending across North America and Europe. Working in the interests of documentary archaeology, we transcribe and publish archival documents that identify ordinary household objects, tools, equipment, commodities, and other elements of material culture. Team members and collaborators include archaeologists, art historians, historians, and literary scholars. We are eager to extend our collaborations with all scholars interested in the material culture of late medieval Europe; please reach out to us.

Our work is currently sorted into two major research initiatives or documentary corpora. Households and Things in Medieval Europe features household or estate inventories from a number of regions of Europe. The Object as Commodity presents information relative to object values and the role that objects can serve as commodities or economic goods. Within each corpus, members of the DALME team and project associates have created individual collections defined either by geography or theme.

The existing collections include records in Latin and a number of vernaculars. These collections are fully searchable in their original languages; our Search page offers suggestions on how to search, filter, or browse the collection.”

UCSB & UCSD Libraries Earn Golden Sautter Award | UCSB Library

“Information technology staff from UC Santa Barbara Library and UC San Diego Library were recognized at the Virtual UC Tech Conference hosted by UCLA on Aug. 11 with a Golden Sautter Award for their work on Starlight, an open-source, cross-campus collaborative project to create a UC-specific platform that enables librarians, curators, and others who are responsible for digital collections at the UC libraries to create attractive, image-rich websites that highlight these collections. The platform underlying Starlight is Spotlight, an open-source digital exhibit platform….”

Texas Art Project: Digitized Microfilmed Archives | University of Houston Libraries

“Thanks to a Texas State Library and Archives Commission TexTreasures grant funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), over 100 reels of microfilmed archives documenting women and underrepresented communities in Texas visual arts will be digitized and made accessible online.

The Texas Art Project is an extensive collection of visual arts history preserved at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) library. Between 1978 and 1985, MFAH contacted artists, galleries, and arts organizations across Texas to document unique manuscript papers and research materials on microfilm, as part of the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art (AAA). The project yielded nearly 700 reels, a subset of which featured materials from women artists, artists of color, and galleries that hosted them. This subset is the focus of the TexTreasures grant which allowed University of Houston Libraries Special Collections and MFAH to collaborate on the digitization of approximately 150,000 images, previously available only in a limited, localized capacity in microfilm at MFAH. Digitized images of materials such as correspondence, exhibition catalogs, reviews, and publications will become openly available online with multiple points of access, thereby facilitating scholarship and research using unique primary sources….”

Creative Commons: Das Städel Museum stellt mehr als 22.000 Kunstwerke zur freien Verfügung | Städel Museum

From Google’s English:  “The Städel Museum makes more than 22,000 works of art freely available in its digital collection with the Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0. This enables a broad public interested in art to reproduce and share the public domain images of the works, naming the Städel Museum, and to use and edit them for any purpose. Popular works of art by the Städel, such as Sandro Botticelli’s Ideal Feminine Portrait (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as a Nymph) (approx. 1480), Franz Marc’s Lying Dog in the Snow (approx. 1911), Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Lying Man under a Blooming Tree (1903), Rembrandts Self-portrait leaning against a stone wall (1639) or Johannes Vermeer’s The Geographer(1669) are thus made available for free download via the digital collection. The aim is – in line with the founding idea – to make the Städel collection accessible to the public and, furthermore, to strengthen participation in the collective cultural property.”

Revisiting Access to Cultural Heritage in the Public Domain: EU and International Developments | SpringerLink

Abstract:  In the past year, a number of legal developments have accelerated discussions around whether intellectual property rights can be claimed in materials generated during the reproduction of public domain works. This article analyses those developments, focusing on the 2018 German Federal Supreme Court decision Museumsfotos, Art. 14 of the 2019 Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market Directive, and relevant provisions of the 2019 Open Data and the Re-use of Public Sector Information Directive. It reveals that despite the growing consensus for protecting the public domain, there is a lack of practical guidance throughout the EU in legislation, jurisprudence, and literature on what reproduction media might attract new intellectual property rights, from scans to photography to 3D data. This leaves ample room for copyright to be claimed in reproduction materials produced by new technologies. Moreover, owners remain able to impose other restrictive measures around public domain works and data, like onsite photography bans, website terms and conditions, and exclusive arrangements with third parties. This article maps out these various legal gaps. It argues the pro-open culture spirit of the EU Directives should be embraced and provides guidance for Member States and heritage institutions around national implementation.