Europeana opens data for 20 million cultural items

Europe’s digital library – Europeana has become a significant web site for its huge and open collection of digitized books, paintings, photographs, recordings, and films from more than 2,200 contributing cultural heritage organizations across Europe, such as the British Library, the Louvre, and the Rijksmuseum.

So far, Europeana has opened up data on 20 million items under the Creative Commons rights waiver, which means that “anyone can reuse the data for any purpose – whether using it to build applications to bring cultural content to new audiences in new ways, or analyzing it to improve our understanding of Europe’s cultural and intellectual history.”

Europeana described this release as “by far the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain”. “Hopefully this will help to establish a precedent for other galleries, libraries, archives, and museums to follow… [and to build up] digital commons of cultural content that everyone is free to use and enjoy.”

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