Open Access and Art History in the 21st Century: The Case for Open GLAM – CODART CODART

“Almost 1000 cultural heritage institutions around the world1 have published some or all of their online collections for free reuse, modification and sharing. They are part of the ‘Open GLAM’ (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) movement that views liberal access2 and reuse (where culturally appropriate3) of digital collections as fundamental to education, research and public engagement.

A key principle of Open GLAM is that works in the public domain – in which copyright has expired or never existed – should remain in the public domain once digitized. However, many museums do assert copyright in digital reproductions of public domain artworks. How legally legitimate is this? Although the answer is not straightforward (the relevant copyright law is complex and lacks international harmonization), in the European Union the standard of originality for a new copyright requires that the work be the ‘author’s own intellectual creation’….”

Cooper Hewitt Interaction Lab Presents: Activating Smithsonian Open Access | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

“The Activating Smithsonian Open Access Challenge (ASOA) from Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab aims to support creative technology teams in designing engaging interactive experiences with Smithsonian Open Access collections for people all over the globe. Made possible by Verizon 5G Labs, this open call for proposals seeks to stimulate new ideas for inspiring digital interactions with over 3 million 2D and 3D objects in the Smithsonian’s Open Access collections, all available under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license for download, re-use, alteration, and even commercialization.

From these proposals, up to six finalists will receive $10,000 to develop their ideas into functioning prototypes to be presented and used by the public. A significant goal of the program is to identify compelling projects that the Interaction Lab might explore for wider use in the future. Creators will own all intellectual property they create in ASOA, subject to the Smithsonian’s license as set forth in the ASOA Participation Rules and Guidelines….”

Contemporary Music Score Collection | UCLA Library

“Published by the UCLA Music Library in eScholarship, the Contemporary Music Score Collection includes the digital, open access scores from the Contemporary Score Edition series, the first open access edition of new music published by a library, and scores from the Kaleidoscope 2020 Call for Scores, an open access collaboration with the UCLA Music Library. For more information about how to use or search the collection, see the Contemporary Music Score Collection Guide. …”

Walters Art Museum Digitization Project | NEH Essentials

“In 2008, the Walters in Baltimore was awarded $307,500 from NEH to start digitizing their world-renowned collection of over 900 objects, some of which had never before been cataloged. The digitization began with The Islamic Digital Resource Project, a collection of the museum’s 128 illuminated Islamic manuscripts and leaves. A second grant of $315,000 included 105 manuscripts of German, Russian, Armenian, Byzantine, Ethiopian, Dutch, English, and Spanish origins, while a $265,000 grant covered digitization of 112 Flemish manuscripts, mainly the Books of Hours, dating between 1200 and 1600 CE….”

Round 2: Honoraria for Art Historians impacted by Covid-19, an emergency response – Smarthistory

“Now, thanks to support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Smarthistory is able to offer thirty additional $1,000 honoraria to emerging scholars who have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic. 

These honoraria are available for the successful publication, on Smarthistory, of a short, accessible essay of general interest and in the scholar’s area of specialization (the topic will be determined in consultation with the editors at Smarthistory), and is open to active Ph.D. students who are ABD, as well as those who have earned a Ph.D. in art history within the past two years. Smarthistory essays are aimed at non-specialist, undergraduate learners….

Authors will retain intellectual property rights to their work and will grant the right for Smarthistory to publish the resulting essay with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License across all of its channels including Smarthistory.org and Khanacademy.org. Essays must be submitted before March 1, 2020. The acceptance of essays and the awarding of honoraria will be at the sole discretion of Smarthistory….”

Open Archief

“Open Archief is a multifaceted, collaborative research project that explores the beauty and innovation that can be inspired by making archival material accessible to artists for creative reuse. Brought forward by three Dutch heritage institutions: Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI), The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Sound and Vision), and the International Institute of Social History (IISH). Open Archief urges and supports media artists to make use of digitized and open archival collections. Through an artistic residency program, a symposium, and several workshops throughout the year, Open Archief brings media artists and heritage institutions together to discuss the importance of creative reuse of heritage and of making digital collections available….”

Expanded access to JSTOR and Artstor further extended: a letter from Kevin Guthrie and Rebecca Seger – ITHAKA

“The challenges faced by the higher education community due to COVID-19 are deep and lasting. We are all affected and need to respond. At ITHAKA, our not-for-profit mission is to make access to knowledge and education more accessible for all. We have asked ourselves what it means to fulfill that mission during these difficult times and have discussed with our trustees creative ways we can respond. Through these discussions we decided to establish a $4 million fee relief program and to develop a range of expanded access offerings to help schools and universities that have had to rapidly pivot to online instruction.

Our expanded access offerings for JSTOR-participating institutions in response to COVID-19 include access to unlicensed JSTOR Archive and Primary Source collections as well as Artstor at no cost. Participation in these programs has been remarkable; to date this content has been accessed more than 24 million times by users at nearly 12,000 institutions….”

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.

 

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.

 

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….”

What Are Digital Rights, and How Can Design Help Protect Them? | | Eye on Design

“When Castro joined Access Now in 2018, she came to the organization through her interest in open access, the movement for free and open information online. In graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, Castro realized that while most classic literature enters the public domain after the copyright expires, many books remain inaccessible because they aren’t reprinted or available in a readable format online. She found the problem to be especially prominent with books by women, whose work may have more easily fallen into obscurity, so she founded Cita Press, which publishes feminist books in the public domain. With Cita, Castro periodically selects open domain texts to republish, asks designers to redesign their covers, and formats them so that readers can print the books themselves, or read them via a custom e-reader on the site.

Even before starting Cita, Castro’s interest in open access was spurred by a stint working as a designer in the museum world, where so many images from museum collectives were technically public domain, yet there was no information around how to access them (and thus they largely went unused). “There’s an entire industry built on selling you things like stock images and stock illustrations that you could get for free,” she says. “Working in a museum, I realized there was no interest in making sure this was known, because it didn’t help them profit.”

 

Between graduating with her Master’s and joining Access Now, Castro attended a summer program at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, where she worked with the Harvard Open Access Project, which seeks to increase open access in regards to academic research. Castro says that while an interest in free and open information is what led her to work in digital rights, it isn’t a concept that is always readily embraced in design. “There‘s a ‘celebrity designer’ complex in design, in which authorship and personal voice is prized,” she says, “and that goes against the idea of collaborative design and open access.” With Cita, Castro uses design to literally expand open access to literary works, but perhaps just as important to designers interested in digital rights is the spirit of collaboration and belief in equal access to information that open access embodies. These ideas provided an important bedrock to Castro’s work with digital rights advocacy, and she feels that they could for others, too, in a design industry that values and teaches them….”

What Are Digital Rights, and How Can Design Help Protect Them? | | Eye on Design

“When Castro joined Access Now in 2018, she came to the organization through her interest in open access, the movement for free and open information online. In graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, Castro realized that while most classic literature enters the public domain after the copyright expires, many books remain inaccessible because they aren’t reprinted or available in a readable format online. She found the problem to be especially prominent with books by women, whose work may have more easily fallen into obscurity, so she founded Cita Press, which publishes feminist books in the public domain. With Cita, Castro periodically selects open domain texts to republish, asks designers to redesign their covers, and formats them so that readers can print the books themselves, or read them via a custom e-reader on the site.

Even before starting Cita, Castro’s interest in open access was spurred by a stint working as a designer in the museum world, where so many images from museum collectives were technically public domain, yet there was no information around how to access them (and thus they largely went unused). “There’s an entire industry built on selling you things like stock images and stock illustrations that you could get for free,” she says. “Working in a museum, I realized there was no interest in making sure this was known, because it didn’t help them profit.”

 

Between graduating with her Master’s and joining Access Now, Castro attended a summer program at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, where she worked with the Harvard Open Access Project, which seeks to increase open access in regards to academic research. Castro says that while an interest in free and open information is what led her to work in digital rights, it isn’t a concept that is always readily embraced in design. “There‘s a ‘celebrity designer’ complex in design, in which authorship and personal voice is prized,” she says, “and that goes against the idea of collaborative design and open access.” With Cita, Castro uses design to literally expand open access to literary works, but perhaps just as important to designers interested in digital rights is the spirit of collaboration and belief in equal access to information that open access embodies. These ideas provided an important bedrock to Castro’s work with digital rights advocacy, and she feels that they could for others, too, in a design industry that values and teaches them….”