Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Most UK museums and libraries not using open licenses

Research Reveals More Museums and Libraries Need to Enable Public Use of Online Resources, a press release from Eduserv, November 14, 2007.  Excerpt:

Eduserv, the not-for-profit IT services group, today announces the findings of a study which reveals that while many UK museums, libraries and archives share their collections online with the public, the majority are not familiar with the use of open content licences which would allow the public to use texts, images and other materials legally for their own projects....

The survey, which was completed by 107 organisations, revealed that most cultural heritage organisations, such as libraries, museums and archives, are sharing parts of their collections online. Yet, 40 percent of those surveyed were unfamiliar with open licensing  and only 22 respondents are currently using or planning to use open licences, which would help the public to use digital materials  from organisations’ collections for their own projects.  

Of the digital material being made available, the organisations surveyed were most likely to share text and images online (71 and 77 respondents out of 107 respectively). Multimedia materials were among those that many organisations were planning to make available for the first time (29 out of 107 respondents). In contrast, many organisations surveyed did not have audio materials available online, nor were they intending to do so in the future (32 respondents out of 107).

Jordan Hatcher, a legal consultant at and principal researcher on the study, comments: “Placing digital materials online without licensing information doesn’t make resources accessible for the public. Open licences are a way, when appropriate, for the cultural heritage sector to ensure their online resources can be easily and legally accessed. Without clear licensing information, students, teachers, artists and other members of the public cannot be sure whether they’re able to use the resources for their own websites and other projects without violating the law.”

Andy Powell, Head of Development at Eduserv, adds: “...Making more digital resources available online would be an important contribution to learning and research, and we hope that this study will encourage organisations to explore ways to share their collections with the public.”

PS:  For background, see my post on the launch of the survey in July 2007.

Update. For the report itself, see the body of the text and the appendices.