Submissions:2019/What Open Access principles do we need for cultural heritage?

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This submission has been designated as a lightning talk at WikiConference North America 2019.


What Open Access principles do we need for cultural heritage?


Relationship Building & Support

Type of session:



Slides available here!

Cultural heritage institutions have been doing significant work on digitization for the last ten to twenty years. The results of those efforts are now starting to pay off, with more institutions adopting open access policies to share that digitized heritage with the world. However, thanks to the survey of GLAM open access policy and practice made by Douglas McCarthy and Andrea Wallace, we know that institutional adoption of open access is happening at a smaller percentage of what could actually be achieved. As institutions prepare to release their material, they need guidance and support to implement open access policies and licences. A new set of ethical concerns, such as traditional knowledge management in connection with openness, are also being raised. The variety of challenges that cultural heritage institutions face when releasing their content asks for more and better support from the organizations vocal around open access. The need to discuss a set of principles couldn’t be more timely, with institutions such as The MET, the CMA and others doing influential releases. Can we agree on a set of principles and better guidance that help us to fast forward the next adopters, and if so, what would this look like? This session will focus on the work that the Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons and other partners are doing to help in such an endeavour with the preparation of a "Declaration on Open Access for Cultural Heritage".

This presentation identifies some of the key concerns that cultural heritage institutions have when implementing open access policies, from copyright and open licensing to traditional knowledge and ethical concerns. We explain how we are drafting those topics in a Declaration on Open Access for Cultural Heritage (the “Open GLAM Declaration” in short) and walk through the arguments we are developing to inform policy makers and advocates that work with or within cultural heritage institutions. With the Declaration, we want to provide an actionable framework to inform policies in an evolving ecosystem, where best practices will change as technologies and communities change.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Evelin Heidel

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:

Scann or Scanno

Affiliated organization(s):

Open GLAM - an initiative between several partners, including Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons

Estimated time:

30 minutes

Preferred room size:


Special requests:

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Yes! At Wikimania and as a group we are delivering this message in several other venues (Museum Computer Network Conference, Sharing is Caring, among others)

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)