I’m delighted to be a co-author on a new paper recently published in the Journal of Documentation: How Open is OpenGLAM: Identifying barriers to commercial and non-commercial reuse of digitised art images (PDF of accepted manuscript).
This results from Foteini Valeonti’s work on Useum.org, where she has built a “virtual museum that democratises art”, including (or at least, trying to include!) many openly licensed images of artworks, testing out the limits of open licensing for both commercial and non-commercial applications. Are they really that open? what barriers are in the way?
The full citation is:
Valeonti, F., Terras, M. and Hudson-Smith, A., 2019. How open is OpenGLAM? Identifying barriers to commercial and non-commercial reuse of digitised art images. Journal of Documentation. doi/10.1108.
The authors’ last uploaded version is available to download here. I’ll paste the abstract, below!
In recent years, OpenGLAM and the broader open license movement have been gaining momentum in the cultural heritage sector. The purpose of this paper is to examine OpenGLAM from the perspective of end users, identifying barriers for commercial and non-commercial reuse of openly licensed art images.
Following a review of the literature, the authors scope out how end users can discover institutions participating in OpenGLAM, and use case studies to examine the process they must follow to find, obtain and reuse openly licensed images from three art museums.
Academic literature has so far focussed on examining the risks and benefits of participation from an institutional perspective, with little done to assess OpenGLAM from the end users’ standpoint. The authors reveal that end users have to overcome a series of barriers to find, obtain and reuse open images. The three main barriers relate to image quality, image tracking and the difficulty of distinguishing open images from those that are bound by copyright.
This study focusses solely on the examination of art museums and galleries. Libraries, archives and also other types of OpenGLAM museums (e.g. archaeological) stretch beyond the scope of this paper.
The authors identify practical barriers of commercial and non-commercial reuse of open images, outlining areas of improvement for participant institutions.
The authors contribute to the understudied field of research examining OpenGLAM from the end users’ perspective, outlining recommendations for end users, as well as for museums and galleries.