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Note to the reader

A ReadMe

Published onOct 19, 2020
Note to the reader
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Note to the Reader

This resource is essentially a working research paper entitled “Critical Open GLAM: Towards [Appropriate] Open Access to Cultural Heritage,” which has been organized into individual publications. Edits are ongoing and new sections will be released as they are completed. You can choose to read this resource in the order provided in the Introduction, or by jumping in and out of each topic.

By publishing now, we hope to inform and begin the public consultation process to bring a new Declaration on Open Access to Cultural Heritage to its final form. You will find the skeleton draft for this Declaration in Declaration Draft.

To aid this consultation, the resource aims to provide a reasonably comprehensive document for the (broadly defined) GLAM sector that:

  • introduces newcomers to open access for cultural heritage;

  • brings everyone up to speed (i.e., legal and cultural heritage practitioners, policy and law makers, the general public, individuals and users, advocates, etc.);

  • provides a brief history of the open GLAM movement;

  • provides a foundation for a better understanding of the legal areas involved, namely copyright and human rights;

  • develops a compelling argument that leads to greater consensus on the premise that public domain works should remain in the public domain once digitized;

  • demonstrates the growing impact that the copyright divide, the misapplication of tools, licenses and labels, and inconsistent practices have on access, reuse, and knowledge development;

  • expands awareness around the human rights aspects of open GLAM and how they might limit access or require more equitable approaches to cultural heritage management (including what should be digitized, made accessible, under what parameters, and to whom);

  • acknowledges the power imbalances that can impact participation, collaboration, and inclusivity in open GLAM;

  • outlines areas in need of a more critical approach within open GLAM;

  • supports greater nuance in open GLAM and highlights examples of good practice when navigating those areas; and

  • makes the case and informs a framework for a Declaration on Open Access for Cultural Heritage.

Attention has been paid to include a diverse set of resources for audiences from various fields and levels of expertise. We have also performed a resource audit for balance of gender, underrepresented voice or community, geographic location, and complexity, including who is cited in-text versus in the footnotes. We welcome recommendations and resources that aid this balance. Footnotes are currently being reduced and reformatted, with some multimedia references pulled up into the text itself, and other information added, like specific citation styles for Indigenous knowledge. We plan to archive all resources with the Internet Archive, and would welcome your support with this task.

All comments on this resource are very welcome, large or small. You’ll notice that some areas expressly request your input. Over the next few weeks, additional research, editorial support, public comments (yours), and consultation will be used to inform and revise these areas. Comments may be made in various ways. More information on this and the public consultation process can be found in Public Consultation.


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