Friday, 3 April 2009

Powerhouse Museum leads the way in creative commons collections


Unpacking the museum collection

Just in is a report from the Creative Commons Clinic in Australia that the Sydney Powerhouse Museum has released its collection data under the CC, Creative Commons framework.

In what is, probably rightly, described as a possible world first, CC Australia report the Powerhouse Museum's descriptions of their objects will be available for use under the CC Attribution-Noncommercial license , while the mainly factual data about each object will be under the even more expansive CC Attribution-ShareAlike. Explanations of the difference, here

By making this move they are hoping to make their collection more usable by the general public, as well as offering a way of clearing up what they describe as "some uncertainty about how such simple materials can be used"

Seb Chan, The Director of Digital Services at the Powerhouse also explained the move, in part:

Teachers and educators can now do what they want or need to with our collection records and encourage their students to do the same without fear. Some probably did in any case but we know that a fair number asked permissions, others wrongly assumed the worst (that we’d make them fill out forms or pay up), and it is highly likely that schools were charged blanket license fees by collecting agencies at times.

Secondly it means that anyone, commercial or non-commercial can now copy, scrape or harvest our descriptive, temporal and geospatial data, and object dimensions for a wide range of new uses.

This could be building a timeline, a map, or a visualisation of our collection mixed with other data. It could be an online publication, a printed text book, or it could be just to improve Wikipedia articles. It can also now be added to Freebase and other online datastores, and incorporated into data services for mobile devices and so much more. .."

More detail, here

The Powerhouse Museum

The PHM has a very strong record around web access to their collections. They pioneered user tagging, as well as being one of the founding members of the Flickr Commons. They have also shown real leadership around the use of mash-ups and mapping.

Fresh + New
Many of these experiments, as well as commentary on peer related projects and partnerships are discussed on their, Fresh + New blog, here.

The Creative Commons in Australia
CC Australia has been a real thought leader in the Creative Commons world. So it feels entirely appropriate that this ground breaking news for the Museum sector worldwide should come from downunder.

Nice one Australia.

Update - not a world first
Robin Boast , Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Cambridge points out that The Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology has been offering all of its collections documentation on-line since 1996, and have been offering it under Attribution, Non-commercial CC license since 2007.

Robin Bost has a great blog, here

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