[OpenGLAM] Picking your brains – Open distribution and long-term institutional policy making

Johan Oomen joomen at beeldengeluid.nl
Wed Jul 23 22:24:08 UTC 2014

Good evening,

With this message, I would like to start a discussion on the issue of
long-term institutional policy making in the context of open distribution
of GLAM collections. It is a timely and increasingly urgent topic; I am
keen to hear your views!

First, some context. The Internet is a great distribution mechanism for
digitised cultural heritage objects and to connect to (communities of)
users. This, combined with increased awareness amongst professionals
working for memory organisations regarding the added value of 'opening' up
collections [1], and developments in the area of intellectual property
rights (CC0, PSI directive, orphan works directive etc.) will hopefully
ensure more and more objects will become available for entertainment,
study, fuel for new services and so on. We begin to see how open content
supports new appropriations (at the OKfest and I'm looking forward to
Wikimania in a few weeks' time) and leads to new collaborations. I'm
curious to hear your opinions and ideas regarding the longitudinal effects
on memory organisation. For instance, at the Netherlands Institute for
Sound and Vision (my affiliation) we have recently adopted the principle of
'open unless'. This allows us to share video and audio files [2] [3] and
we're monitoring the impact of this policy to inform policy making.

As you all know, ‘open distribution’ is not free [4]. Take Sound and
Vision: we’ve assigned a GLAM-wiki coordinator, invest in administering
copyright before we can upload content, and employ personnel to upload
content to the platforms. There's a continuous investment to support the
underlying technical infrastructure for transcoding, hosting and play-out
of content. Also, there’s a direct link between the investment we can make,
and the amount of content we can make available. For instance, we’re
currently assessing musical collections, to see under which terms they can
be distributed. The more resources we can allocate to such activities, the
more content can be made available. Budgets are limited, and so ‘open
distribution’ becomes a balancing act. Also, committing to ‘open’ is a
long-term investment.

 Why this message? I’m keen to hear if there are quantifiable insights in
the economics of sharing in a GLAM context to help envision the future
ecosystem for access to GLAM resources [5] help influence policy making
towards ‘open unless’ as a wide adopted baseline.
-    Are you aware of publicly available studies that show changes in
spending at GLAMs, given the rise of online distribution? Investments in
ICT will probably account for a larger part of annual spending compare to a
number of years ago. If funding stayed at approximately the same, were do
we see decreases?
-    Are GLAMs earmarking specific funds to support ‘open distribution’ as
a long-term goal?
-    If 3rd parties create apps that result in quantifiable revenues
(money, visibility, outcomes of participatory projects such as social
tagging are GLAMs also listing these in their reporting? What value is
given to these in future decision taking?

Would be great to get some insights in any of the points above. I look
forward to hear your comments on this!

Johan Oomen
Head of Research, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision


ps: in the context of the Open Culture Data initiative [6] (collaboration
between Kenniland, Open State Foundation and Sound and Vision) we’ve been
taking steps to construct a model to measure impact. This is still work in
progress. We’ve identified 7 areas:
1. Value given to ‘open culture data’ from an organisational policy
2. Value given to ‘open culture data’ in terms of corporate knowledge
sharing (stimulating creativity, innovation)
3. Adaptation and understanding of business models based on ‘open
4. Value given to the increased understanding of the collection and
visibility of the collection through the adaptation of ‘open distribution’
5. Amount of ‘open culture data’ made available
6. Perception of success of the marketing of data (marketing indicators)
7. Perception of success to the reach and size of reuse of data (usage


[2] http://openimages.eu and https://soundcloud.com/beeldengeluid (both
projects are execured in partnership with Kennisland)
[4] The conference series eCommons addresses this topic. Please refer to
the papers online at: http://ecommons.eu/economies-of-the-commons-3/
[5] See for instance this article by Paul Keller:
[6] http://www.opencultuurdata.nl/english/
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