[okfn-discuss] (fwd) MPIWG Call for Open Access to Digital Images

jonni jemp jonni.jemp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 26 09:06:14 UTC 2009

apologies for x-posting/rehashing

re. opening line of message, Berlin Declaration is here


From:     Dr. Christine von Oertzen (coertzen at mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de)
Date:     22 January 2009
Subject:  Call for Open Access to Digital Images

Call for Open Access to Digital Images

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), a co-initiator
of the OpenAccess movement, has drawn up a set of best-practice
recommendations concerning the scholarly use of visual media. The
recommendations aimed at facilitating the scholarly use and publication of
historical digital images were drafted following consultations with scholars
and representatives of leading museums, libraries, image archives and
publishers. The aim of the document is to create a network of mutual trust
and cooperation between scholars and curators of cultural heritage
collections with a view to facilitating access to and the scholarly use of
visual media. The recommendations can be downloaded from the MIPWG website
which currently features a detailed report on the initiative.

The recommendations were prompted by the barriers encountered by those who
wish to use and publish images of cultural heritage objects. High licence
fees and complicated access regulations make it increasingly difficult for
scholars in the humanities to work with digital images. It is true that the
digitization of image collections has acted as a catalyst for scholarly
research. However, archives, collections and libraries differ greatly with
respect to the question of how, where and on what basis images may be used
for scholarly purposes. Moreover, their policies in this regard are
becoming increasingly restrictive, especially when it comes to new
forms of e-publishing.

The MPIWG drew up its recommendations for facilitating the scholarly use of
digital images following consultations with international experts which took
place in January 2008. The recommendations call on curators and scholars to
develop a mutually binding network of trust. The aim of the initiative is to
encourage stakeholders jointly to address the current and future challenges
raised by the digital age. The document urges curators to refrain from
restricting the public domain arbitrarily and calls on them to accommodate
the needs of scholars for reasonably-priced or freely-accessible
high-resolution digital images - both for print publications and new
Web-based forms of scholarly publishing. It exhorts scholars to recognise
museums, libraries and collections as owners and custodians of
physical objects of cultural heritage and to acknowledge their efforts in
making digital images available. Moreover, it urges them to take their role
as guarantors of authenticity and accurate attribution extremely seriously.


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