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    - Europe’s digital library, Europeana, has opened up its over 20 million books, paintings, films, photos and recordings under a non-restrictive Creative Commons label. Giving back cultural heritage to the people.

    "Open data is such a powerful idea, and Europeana is such a cultural asset, that only good things can result from the marriage of the two", European Commission Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) said at the launch of CC0-waiver, that makes re-use without restrictions possible.

    Kroes: "People often speak about closing the digital divide and opening up culture to new audiences but very few can claim such a big contribution to those efforts as Europeana's shift to creative commons."

    From books to films

    Europeana (www.europeana.eu) is Europe's digital library, archive and museum. It gives people access to over 20 million books, paintings, films, recordings, photographs and archival records in 29 languages.

    It represents 2,200 partner organisations, including all the great national collections such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the British Library in London and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

     

    Turkish coin BC - Numismatic Collection of Bode Museum

    Turkish coin, 460-440 BC, Numismatic Collection of Bode Museum, through Europeana

    Creative Commons' next level

    Europeana actively promotes the use and re-use of open data on the European stage and recognises the importance of clarity in this complex area. It has a  Data Exchange Agreement (DEA) with each of its partner contributors that establishes that Europeana publishes metadata it receives from its data providers under the terms of the Creative Commons Zero Universal Public Domain Dedication (CC0 waiver). The CC0 waiver is a legal tool that has been developed by Creative Commons for making data available without restrictions on re-use.  

    This release, which is by far the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain using CC0 offers a new boost to the digital economy, providing electronic entrepreneurs with opportunities to create innovative apps and games for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals.

    Away with closed data

    Europeana's move to CC0 is a step change in open data access. Releasing data from across the memory organisations of every EU country sets an important new international precedent, a decisive move away from the world of closed and controlled data.

    The change represents a valuable contribution to the European Commission's agenda to drive growth through digital innovation. The Commission is of the opinion that online open data can fuel enterprise and create opportunities for millions of Europeans working in Europe's cultural and creative industries. The sector represents 3.3% of EU GDP and is worth over €150 billion in exports.

    Linking the data together
     
    Applying the CC0 waiver also means that Europeana's metadata can now be used in Linked Open Data developments. This holds the potential to bring together data from Europe's great libraries, museums and archives with data from other sectors such as tourism and broadcasting. The result could be a powerful knowledge generating engine for the 21st century.

    Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana said: "This move is a significant step forward for open data and an important cultural shift for the network of museums, libraries and galleries who have created Europeana. This is the world's premier cultural dataset, and the decision to open it up for re-use is bold and forward looking - it recognises the important potential for innovation that access to digital data provides. This development means that Europe now sets the worldwide standard for the sector."