Getting Started with Open Culture: A Guide for #SavingPlaces

Another work-in-progress!

About open licensing

Guide to Open Licensing – Open Definition

  • What is an open license? A license is a document that specifies what can and cannot be done with a work (whether sound, text, image or multimedia). It grants permissions and states restrictions. Broadly speaking, an open license is one which grants permission to access, re-use and redistribute a work with few or no restrictions.
  • Why use an open license? Works that are published without an explicit license are usually subject to the copyright laws of the jurisdiction they are published in by default. Open licenses enable creators to allow more freedom in what others can do with their works.
  • How can I apply an open license? Applying an open license to a work can be very straightforward. The procedure may slightly vary depending on which license is selected.

See also: Guide to Open Data Licensing

About OpenGLAM

What resources are available from the OpenGLAM initiative of the Open Knowledge Foundation?

Documentation – Open GLAM

  • Research: In this section you will find reports and research papers published by a variety of people and organisations on various aspects of open data and open content in cultural heritage including its impact and value.
  • Guides: In this section you will find guides to help you understand basic legal and technical concepts relating to open cultural data and content.
  • Tools and other resources: In this section you will find tools and resources, including webpages that give you more information on the copyright term for specific jurisdictions and Wiki pages with other links.
  • Exemplary Open Licensing Policies: A number of organisations and institutions have put together exemplary open licensing policies for their content and/or data. We know that these can serve as useful examples for people exploring the possibility of introducing similar policies within their institutions.

Open content and preservation


Historic Columbus uses a conventional “All rights reserved” license for most content but does use a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives for two publications:

  • The Architectural Styles of Our Town: Columbus, GA
  • A Historic Tour of Our Town, Columbus, GA Coloring Book

Friends of Classic Las Vegas use a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5) on all of the content on their website.

Strong Towns make their website available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Preservapedia is a free-content encyclopedia and knowledge base focused specifically on technical material related to cultural resource management and its allied fields that uses a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

National Trust for Historic Preservation uses a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license for the presentations they publish to Slideshare.

The National Council on Public History uses a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License for material published on their Public History Commons site including the History@Work blog.

Open software and preservation


Arches is distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License, version 3 (AGPL3).

Omeka and Curatescape are both open source. Omeka is distributed under the GNU General Public License, version 3.

Open data and preservation


There are many, many examples of data related to historic preservation on open data repositories for cities and states across the United States. A quick search turns up examples from Washington, DC; Savannah, Georgia; Boise, Idaho; and Hartford, Connecticut.

Additional Reading/Resources