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How open is OpenGLAM? Identifying barriers to commercial and non-commercial reuse of digitised art images

Foteini Valeonti (Department of Information Studies, University College London, London, UK)
Melissa Terras (College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)
Andrew Hudson-Smith (The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, London, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 November 2019

Issue publication date: 7 January 2020

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452

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, OpenGLAM and the broader open license movement have been gaining momentum in the cultural heritage sector. The purpose of this paper is to examine OpenGLAM from the perspective of end users, identifying barriers for commercial and non-commercial reuse of openly licensed art images.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a review of the literature, the authors scope out how end users can discover institutions participating in OpenGLAM, and use case studies to examine the process they must follow to find, obtain and reuse openly licensed images from three art museums.

Findings

Academic literature has so far focussed on examining the risks and benefits of participation from an institutional perspective, with little done to assess OpenGLAM from the end users’ standpoint. The authors reveal that end users have to overcome a series of barriers to find, obtain and reuse open images. The three main barriers relate to image quality, image tracking and the difficulty of distinguishing open images from those that are bound by copyright.

Research limitations/implications

This study focusses solely on the examination of art museums and galleries. Libraries, archives and also other types of OpenGLAM museums (e.g. archaeological) stretch beyond the scope of this paper.

Practical implications

The authors identify practical barriers of commercial and non-commercial reuse of open images, outlining areas of improvement for participant institutions.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the understudied field of research examining OpenGLAM from the end users’ perspective, outlining recommendations for end users, as well as for museums and galleries.

Keywords

Citation

Valeonti, F., Terras, M. and Hudson-Smith, A. (2020), "How open is OpenGLAM? Identifying barriers to commercial and non-commercial reuse of digitised art images", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 76 No. 1, pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-06-2019-0109

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited