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Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage



This practical and explanatory guide for library and cultural heritage professionals introduces and explains the use of open licences for content, data and metadata in libraries and other cultural heritage organisations. Using rich background information, international case studies and examples of best practice, this book outlines how and why open licences should and can be used with the sector's content, data and metadata. Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage digs into the concept of 'open' in relation to intellectual property, providing context through the development of different fields, including open education, open source, open data, and open government. It explores the organisational benefits of open licensing and the open movement, including the importance of content discoverability, arguments for wider collections impact and access, the practical benefits of simplicity and scalability, and more ethical and principled arguments related to protection of public content and the public domain.
Content covered includes:

  • an accessible introduction to relevant concepts, themes, and names, including 'Creative Commons', 'attribution', model licences, and licence versions
  • distinctions between content that has been openly licensed and content that is in the public domain and why professionals in the sector should be aware of these differences
  • an exploration of the organisational benefits of open licensing and the open movement
  • the benefits and risks associated with open licensing
  • a range of practical case studies from organisations including Newcastle Libraries, the University of Edinburgh, Statens Museum for Kunst (the National Gallery of Denmark), and the British Library.

This book will be useful reading for staff and policy makers across the gallery, library, archive and museum (GLAM) sector, who need a clear understanding of the open licensing environment, opportunities, risks and approaches to implementation. This includes library and information professionals, library and information services (LIS) professionals working specifically in the digital field (including digital curation, digitisation, digital production, resource discovery developers). It will also be of use to students of LIS Science, digital curation, digital humanities, archives and records management and museum studies.

1. Introduction 2. The Open Movement: its history and development 3. Copyright and licensing: a background 4. Open licensing: the logical option for cultural heritage 5. Small steps, big impact: how SMK became SMK Open 6. Open metadata licensing: the British Library experience 7. Open policy and collaboration with Wikimedia at the National Library of Wales 8. Newcastle Libraries 9. Drivers for open: the development of open licensing at the National Library of Scotland 10. Wellcome Library 11. Development of an OER policy and open approaches to mitigate risk at University of Edinburgh 12. How to implement open licensing at your organisation 13. Using and re-use openly licensed resources 14. Conclusion

Gill Hamilton is Digital Access Manager at the National Library of Scotland where she leads on access to the Library's extensive digital collections, and oversees its resource discovery and library management systems. Fred Saunderson is the National Library of Scotland's Intellectual Property Specialist where he has responsibility for providing copyright and intellectual property advice and guidance, as well as coordinating licensing and re-use procedures.

Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage is as impressively informative as it is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. Unreservedly recommended as an essential, exceptional, indispensable, core addition to community, governmental, and academic Library Science collections, Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage is a necessary and invaluable instructional reference.

MBR Bookwatch

This book will be of value to any institutions considering making their collections available digitally. The background and context information is largely clearly relevant, concise and sufficient. The book is very readable throughout. It will also be suitable for students studying courses in library and moveable cultural heritage management. Indeed I have recommended the book to my own students.

Journal of Cultural Heritage (Robert Gordon University)

'I recommend Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage to cultural institutions who are looking for a way to make their digital content accessible to a broader audience, thus bringing them not only the visibility that comes with openness, but also to initiate them as new stakeholders that support such endeavors.'- Anastasia Weigle, Maine Archives and Museums Quarterly

Maine Archives and Museums Quarterly

'In their excellent guide Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage, Gill Hamilton and Fred Saunderson explain, advocate, and show howto implement open intellectual property ('IP') licensing within the heritage sector. Their use of enlightening case studies, authored by other experts in the sector, is especially impactful. These real-life stories—perhaps the core of the book—help explain why it is not always possible to be as open as we might like, why openness takes time and resource, and how risk needs to be mitigated. Nevertheless, Hamilton's and Saunderson's personable, persuasive, and enthusiastic tone extends unswayed to the final, practical chapters.'- Bernard Horrocks, Tate Gallery, London, UK

Archives and Records

'Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage is a rich, beautifully researched and thought-provoking addition to the body of IP literature for the heritage sector... Hamilton and Saunderson address this with great sensitivity and thought, making this an instructive as well as inspiring volume.'

Taylor & Francis Online

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