Start re-using now!

Nieuws | de redactie
14 september 2012 | 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 acultural asset, that only good things can result from the marriageof the two”, European Commission Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) saidat the launch of CC0-waiver, that makes re-use without restrictionspossible.

Kroes: “People often speak about closing the digital divide andopening up culture to new audiences but very few can claim such abig contribution to those efforts as Europeana’s shift to creativecommons.”

From books to films

Europeana ( is Europe’sdigital library, archive and museum. It gives people access to over20 million books, paintings, films, recordings, photographs andarchival records in 29 languages.

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


Turkish coin BC - Numismatic Collection of Bode Museum

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

Creative Commons’ next level

Europeana actively promotes the use and re-use of open data onthe European stage and recognises the importance of clarity in thiscomplex area. It has a  Data Exchange Agreement (DEA) with each of its partnercontributors that establishes that Europeana publishes metadata itreceives from its data providers under the terms of the Creative Commons ZeroUniversal Public Domain Dedication (CC0 waiver). The CC0 waiver isa legal tool that has been developed by Creative Commons for makingdata available without restrictions on re-use.  

This release, which is by far the largest one-time dedication ofcultural data to the public domain using CC0 offers a new boost tothe digital economy, providing electronic entrepreneurs withopportunities to create innovative apps and games for tablets andsmartphones 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 EUcountry sets an important new international precedent, a decisivemove away from the world of closed and controlled data.

The change represents a valuable contribution to the EuropeanCommission’s agenda to drive growth through digital innovation. TheCommission is of the opinion that online open data can fuelenterprise and create opportunities for millions of Europeansworking in Europe’s cultural and creative industries. The sectorrepresents 3.3% of EU GDP and is worth over €150 billion inexports.

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

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana said: “Thismove is a significant step forward for open data and an importantcultural shift for the network of museums, libraries and gallerieswho have created Europeana. This is the world’s premier culturaldataset, and the decision to open it up for re-use is bold andforward looking – it recognises the important potential forinnovation that access to digital data provides. This developmentmeans that Europe now sets the worldwide standard for thesector.”

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