For those of you who are dedicated followers of the Europeana Facebook and Twitter accounts, you have probably already seen #OpenCollections in your newsfeed in the last couple of weeks. #OpenCollections highlights some of the most interesting and high quality collections from around Europe.
So why do we call them open collections and not just ‘beautiful collections’? Open Collections can be re-used without restrictions, and we believe that culture should be shared with minimum restriction. Works that are open because either copyright has expired, does not exist or permission has been given to freely copy, modify, remix and print the material – subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.
This is important for us to highlight because a lot of cultural objects from the previous century are still protected by copyright. This means that you as a user can’t just make copies or modify the work without consulting with the rights holders. A work that can be considered ‘open’ does not have these restrictions.
Highlighting great, re-usable material
By highlighting the open collections, it not only becomes easier for you to find some of the best material available in Europe, but we also like to support the great work being done by the museums, libraries and archives that make these collections available to you. In this way, we want to bring European culture closer to a worldwide audience. And the good part is, you can share it as well! This is the material you can share freely via social media or use in your own remixes, websites, apps, educational material, and whatever else you can think of.
How to find more great open collections?
For more interesting open collections, take a look on Europeana Labs, where we present hand-picked collections that can be re-used without any restrictions. When browsing through the Europeana repository, it is quite easy to check if a collection or object is open and can therefore be reused. Just go to the ‘Can I use it’ box and tick ‘Yes, with attribution’. This will filter out the cultural objects that either have fallen into the Public Domain, or are licensed with one of the open Creative Commons license.