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

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Fri Feb 27 14:30:16 UTC 2009

This looks really interesting!

A bit that caught my eye was:

> The document urges curators to refrain from restricting the public domain arbitrarily

This relates to the third recommendation in "Public Interest
Information Policy in Germany":

> Keep the public domain in the public domain. Encourage publicly funded cultural heritage institutions to allow digital copies of their holdings to be re-used by the public. Encourage the adoption of intellectual property law and policy that takes account of public interest, as well as private interests.



It would be great if recommendations went beyond scholarly re-use to
re-use by the public (by using open licenses, public domain
declarations or other legal statements/waivers).

The Flickr Commons project is a good example of this, as is the recent
case where the German Federal Archives made a big donation of images
to Wikimedia Commons (which I saw a presentation on last night):


Great to see support from the Max Planck!

Warm regards,


On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 10:06 AM, jonni jemp <jonni.jemp at gmail.com> wrote:
> apologies for x-posting/rehashing
> re. opening line of message, Berlin Declaration is here
> http://oa.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html
> jj
> 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.
> Website:
> http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/news/features/feature4/
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Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation

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