NDF2012 left me feeling two things this year. One, that one day I want to work in a museum; and two, that I need to start thinking about the websites I work with at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage as a big collection of data. That’s the first step in being able to realise our ambition that our sites can be a re-usable source of content for other people and organisations.
Back to museums, but still on the re-use theme, a couple of recents posts are worth quoting and remembering. Both are about why it’s ok to release and share you content. This one in particular, from a post about how art museums are failing art educators, argues museums are becoming irrelevant by not being online, and not being online effectively:
Restrictive museum policies seek to retain authority, but in practice render the museum’s expertise largely irrelevant for those beyond its walls. – “Can I Use This?” How Museum and Library Image Policies Undermine Education
As Suse Cairns said in her talk at NDF2012, if a user can’t find your content online, they’ll find it somewhere else (and that goes for onsite visitors too), which fundamentally undermines a museum’s position.
Another argument I’m hearing recently is that open collections undermine commercial opportunities, whether that’s an organisation’s commercial activities or similar activities in the private sector. This from Nick Poole is in response to fears that openness undermines commercial models:
It is perfectly possible to reconcile commercial activity in the Commons, but it is the type of commercial activity that depends on the addition of value, not the control of access. – Culture must always be a commons
Some good examples to follow: the British Library’s guide for authorising re-use: Access Reuse Guidance Notes for the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, or go play at the Rijksmuseum’s Rijks Studio.