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Copyright and open access for GLAMs in the… – 04/04/2024

a working paper by Stelios Lekakis (Mazomos) and Mina Dragouni (Panteion):

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, a plethora of memory institutions across Europe had been devoted to opening their collections and resources to audiences by harnessing digital platforms and tools, digitising their artefacts, books, archives, and other objects of cultural, scientific, and historical significance. From early 2020 onwards, the outburst of the pandemic crisis stressed further the necessity to make cultural heritage open and digitally accessible. In this document, we map available copyright and open access options for cultural organisations, assess distribution policies and reveal data-sharing trends in the post-pandemic era. Our overarching aim is to provide some insight into the current landscape, imminent needs, and future challenges of the European GLAM sector to inform future policy.

Our review begins by defining cultural data ‘openness’, exposing the ambiguity and at times, misuse of the term across GLAMs. Easy and free access, metadata processing, permissible uses, and purposes are identified as key criteria of open data policy. In turn, available legal instruments for releasing data are presented and explained, including the Public Domain Mark and the available options and rules of Creative Commons licenses.

Next, our analysis draws on the OpenGLAM survey (running since 2018 by McCarthy & Wallace) to map the sectoral landscape of sharing digital resources online. As it is observed, the level of digitisation and adoption of open access practices varies greatly among GLAMs located in Europe. Most organisations appear to have published ‘some eligible data’ as open data while they still apply non-open access policies for other resources and collections. This seems to indicate some hesitation towards an all-embracing open data policy at organisation level or broader barriers within and outside the sector. Regarding the release of digitised creative work that belongs to the Public Domain, most cultural organisations use the Public Domain Mark (34%), followed by the Creative Commons CC BY (25%) and CC BY-SA (21%) licences or national equivalents. Overall, we observe that more than half (52%) of GLAMs participating in the survey are Public Domain compliant; particularly libraries, whereas museums and archives appear comparatively more reluctant to waive all rights to their digitised assets. At the same time, it appears that only a relatively small percentage of collections and records held at European GLAMs have so far become available online as open-access digital resources. Quite critically, Europeana has a pre-eminent position as the primary distribution channel that European GLAMs employ to distribute their open-access materials.

This motivates us to explore further Europeana’s statistics for participation, volume of materials, and rights regimes. At the time of writing this document, Europeana recorded almost 57 million contributions by GLAMs, including images, 3D, texts, sound, and video records. These have been provided by a total of 3,532 institutions, including all core GLAM categories and several peripheral organisations, such as universities. The ‘champions’ in terms of data volumes were the Netherlands (about 16% of all Europeana materials) and Germany (a. 11% of all materials), followed by the UK, Spain, Sweden, and France. Regarding copyright and open access, we observe that a considerable amount of Europeana’s digital materials (a. 21%) have been released under a Public Domain Mark, whereas another 13% is also free of copyrights under a CC0 licence. However, almost half of GLAMs digital resources distributed through the Europeana platform are still not openly accessible.

Overall, although a culture of sharing free and unrestricted digital data as a ‘commons’ fits well with the broader societal mission of GLAMs and important steps have been made in terms of providing an open-access culture in the sector, more efforts (and resources/infrastructure) are required so that openness can become the standard good sectoral practice. Openness has not yet crystallised as the standard for sectoral practice across European GLAMs. There is still great variance across the sector regarding digital copyright and open access policy, not only amongst different sub-sectors (e.g. libraries as compared to museums and archives) but also within the same sector. It appears that greater consensus is needed to ensure no new rights are claimed in the digital versions of Public Domain works whereas digital resources are shared responsibly, both within, but also separate from, established institutions, allowing for a greater socially-embedded engagement with GLAMs work, digitised records, and objects.

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Conceptualising GLAMs as commons – 27/03/2024

a working paper by Vasilis Avdikos, Mina Dragouni, Martha Michailidou, Dimitris Pettas (Panteion University):

Over the last decades, GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) have faced several challenges, including the limitation of public funding due to the global economic crisis of 2008, the need to keep up with digitalization trends in order to make collections accessible to larger audiences, the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic which impacted income sources such as visitor revenues, licensing, donations, endowments and sponsorships. All these challenges require GLAMs to be proactive in adopting innovative strategies, collaborating with other institutions, leveraging partnerships, and seeking sustainable funding models to address their unique and evolving needs. In this paper, we explore the potentiality of GLAMs to operate as commons, towards ensuring their vibrancy, sustainability, and resilience, while meeting broader societal needs. The commons constitute a mode of resource management (in our case cultural ones) through which a specific community (instead of a state body or actors of the market) is responsible for the exploitation and management (or, in several cases also the production) of a resource under inclusive and democratic principles. In this way, the commons constitute of i) a (set of) commons pool resource(s), including a diverse range of material and intangible resources, ii) a group/ community that appropriate, use, manage and take care of the resources, iii) a governance/ management framework established through mixes of official and informal sets of rules, decision-making processes, governance arrangements.

Towards exploring the potentials of GLAMs to operate as commons, we review the extant literature of the commons in order to elaborate on the ontology of GLAMs and heritage commons and develop a conceptual framework of ‘commons-oriented’ GLAMs to navigate future research for workable solutions to the sector. Our review features the ‘Ostromian’ understandings of the commons, insights from the autonomist school of thought and other theoretical and practical articulations of the ‘new commons’. By exploring different types of commons-based ventures, such as urban commons, digital commons and cultural/heritage commons, we distinguish those elements that are mostly relevant to bring on board. Based on these we develop and present here, for the first time, a novel conceptual framework for studying GLAMs as commons, adapted to fit with the idiosyncrasies of the sector. Moreover, we explore the ways relevant commoning practices could be developed towards ensuring GLAMs’ sustainability and resilience, while meeting broader societal needs. According to Linebaugh (2008), the social process, the praxis of commoning, refers to the collective management of resources. Furthermore, the creation and reproduction of the commons is materialised through commoning practices of co-production, co-appropriation, and co-management, developed upon horizontal and democratic principles and processes (Card, 2018).

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GLAMS inspiring practices – 27/03/2024

a working paper by Ares Kalandides and Bastian Lange (Inpolis):

Five inspiring practices of GLAMs as commons have been examined in this document. These cases were chosen as they highlight the importance of community engagement, volunteerism, and the preservation of cultural and historical resources. They represent efforts to create and maintain accessible spaces for knowledge-sharing and cultural enrichment, often adapting to changing circumstances and needs within their respective communities.

The Oral History Groups (OHGs) in Greece represent a network of self-organized initiatives focused on collecting and disseminating oral history archives. With horizontal governance and content creation, these groups aim to preserve personal stories, both historical and contemporary, through collective effort.

The Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI) in Athens, Greece, serves as a repository of left-wing political and social movements’ history, with an extensive collection open to the public. ASKI also actively engages in educational activities, publications, and public events to share this valuable knowledge.

The Schwules Museum in Berlin, Germany, stands as a unique institution that combines political expression, scientific archival work, exhibitions, and workshops, all organized under an association structure. It emphasizes LGBTQ+ history and culture, adapting to changing demands while maintaining a strong volunteer presence.

The Ekatarina Pavlovic Library, part of the Rural Cultural Center Markovac in Serbia, promotes culture, education, and social services in an underprivileged region. Based on feminist pedagogy, it encourages critical thinking, creativity, and civic awareness.

Ostavinska Gallery in Belgrade, Serbia, operates within the Magacin cultural center, offering free access to spatial and technical resources for various art and social activities. It promotes cultural exchange, social cohesion, and community organizing.

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The contribution of GLAMs to local and … – 22/03/2024

a working paper by V. Avdikos, Eleni Kostopoulou, M. Michailidou, D. Pettas, M. Dragouni (Panteion University):

The purpose of the paper is to unpack the contribution of GLAMs in the regional economies of a set of selected European countries/regions, where there are available official statistics. Our work aims to delineate the contribution of GLAMs to regional economies, and shed light on that issue, while searching for more data for GLAMs. The working paper therefore makes use of the very few official statistics from Eurostat; additionally, the authors reached a number of National Statistical Authorities in the EU, in order to get official regional statistics for the GLAM sector. Moreover, the paper uses the statistics gathered through the GLAMMONS survey, in order to shed light on the issue of volunteering labour in GLAMs and the overall contribution of volunteers.

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Pandemic-Driven Shifts of GLAMs Finances and … – 15/03/2024

a working paper by Stelios Lekakis (Mazomos) and Mina Dragouni (Panteion):

As digital technologies and online tools have become omnipresent in our everyday life, it is not surprising that they have found their way into cultural organisations missioned to preserve our cultural heritage, such as Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAMs). This document explores digital policy and digital management trends in European GLAMs with the view to (a) increase our understanding of how digital work and tools have been embedded in the work of memory institutions and (b) to identify any pandemic-driven shifts that can inform future challenges and opportunities for the sector, particularly in relation to participatory practices and financial resilience.

GLAMs’ ‘digital practice’ includes those aspects of work within GLAMs that are performed through digital tools or realised on digital platforms (Sanderhoff, 2014). They include the development of collection databases and digitisation of content, digitally enhanced interpretation and curation of exhibitions and materials, as well as GLAMs’ digital presence (websites, social media) and digital offer in the form of online events, podcasts, virtual courses, and other outreach activities. Over the past two decades, memory institutions across Europe have set out to digitise and share their imagery of museum artefacts, works of art, and audiovisual archives through online digital infrastructures (e.g. OpenGLAMs, Europeana) or non-for-profit public-private partnerships (e.g. Google Arts), providing increased access to heritage and engaging the public in novel ways through special software and tools facilitating on-site and online visitors experiences (e.g. virtual tours, 3D representations, interactive games). However, as digital work is costly and labour intensive, national large-scale institutions were better positioned to harness their digitalisation potential as compared to peripheral, medium, or small-size cultural organisations. Prior to the pandemic, less prominent GLAMs were less agile to make sharp transitions to the digital realm due to limited resources and knowledge; a trend that seems to persist after the pandemic. They were driven to engage in digital work mostly to increase their visibility (NEMO, 2020a), often creating digital content as an online version of a physical exhibition (King et al., 2021).

Prior to the pandemic, the digital transition of GLAMs was largely dependent on their organisational size and, by extension, on their digital capacity and resources at hand. Thus, pre-pandemic digital investment became a critical factor for digital preparedness in the sector during the pandemic, by drawing on existing digital material. The forced closure of memory institutions brought to the fore existing issues in the sector, such as ‘lack of digital tools, gaps in skills and human capital, poor audience diversity, and weaknesses in coping with the digital transformation, and called attention to data collection and management’ (Dimitrova & Chatzidamianos, 2022: 37). Interestingly, there is limited data to support that GLAMs’ augmented online presence during the pandemic was accompanied by related increases of digital budget or labour force at organisation level. Rather, some preliminary evidence suggests that after GLAMs’ re-opening, pandemic-driven shifts did not maintain their digital ‘momentum’, apart from a sustained increased activity in social media. On the positive side, some early findings show that the pandemic did indeed accelerate digitisation and sharing of cultural data on aggregators, such as Europeana, where volumes of digital records substantially increased for several European countries during and after the pandemic crisis.

Regarding the post-pandemic digital landscape for the GLAM sector, a recent survey by Mowat et al. (2022) reports that only 20% of European GLAMs have distinct online/virtual audiences whereas only 2 out of 10 have devised a comprehensive strategy for digitising and cataloguing their collections, licensing and copyright, or general operations and management of their digital efforts. The lack of a solid digital strategy and vision coupled with understaffing and underfunding for several memory institutions expose some structural problems and challenges to realising the sector’s digitalisation potential. Furthermore, collections’ digitisation remains disconnected from an overarching participatory strategy across many GLAMs operating in the sector (Tartari et al., 2022). As argued, in the post-pandemic era, further institutional support, resources, and knowledge is still required so that best practices for engaging with digital audiences can become standardised in the sector and across smaller organisations that hold digital collections. In this way, ‘going digital’ would not be confined to a process that replicates the typical museum-audience relationship but will be seized as an opportunity for working towards a radically different relationship with user communities.

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Taxonomies of Participatory Practices in GLAMs – 13/03/2024

a working paper by Bastian Lange and Ares Kalandides (Inpolis):

This paper delves into the impact of external shocks, such as the pandemic and digitization, on organizational and management practices within commonly run cultural institutions, particularly in the GLAM sector. It seeks to understand how these institutions adapt and maintain legitimacy, self-efficacy, and volunteer commitment among their commoners in response to these challenges.

The central question is how recently introduced management and organizational practices gain acceptance among commoners amidst changing demands, both external and internal. The study explores the practical aspects of daily operations within these institutions, uncovering the complexities of managing commoning practices while adjusting to new demands. It also delves into the conflicts, debates, and agreements that arise as commoners, CEOs, and volunteers negotiate the core principles and values of these cultural commons.

Methodologically, the research employs narrative and grounded theory approaches to decipher how commoners perceive the governance of GLAM commons in response to unexpected external shocks. It analyses multiple perspectives and positions on organizational and management practices within growing institutions, contributing to the ongoing discussion on GLAMs’ adaptation to increasing demands, professionalization, and the role of volunteers in maintaining participatory principles and shared values.

Through a case study of the “Schwules Museum” in Berlin, the research provides insights into the historical, organizational, and procedural challenges faced by these institutions. It underscores the analytical power of a “practical turn” in social and cultural sciences, illustrating the intricacies of managing commons from a transnational perspective.

The study suggests viewing organizational and managerial practices within GLAMs as trans-local phenomena, emphasizing the importance of distributed power regulations and participatory decision-making mechanisms in commonly run institutions. It recognizes the evolving landscape of cultural goods and the necessity of understanding social conflicts and legitimacy formation within these changing structures.

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Webinar : “Sustainable Models for GLAMs” – 05/03/2024

Three EU-funded research and innovation projects, invited professionals from GLAMs to take part in the webinar “Sustainable Models for GLAMs-New ways of participatory management and sustainable financing of cultural institutions” on February 20, 2024.

During the online event, GLAMMONS together with ReCharge and LibrarIN presented the core vision of their approach to participation in the cultural sector, the value of this approach, the needs assessments, and capacity building before an open discussion with the audience.

Watch the webinar HERE.

Program:

-Welcome and introduction by Hinano Spreafico, European Commission, and the moderator, Ares Kalandides, GLAMMONS
-GLAMMONS: Resilient, sustainable, and participatory practices: Towards the GLAMs of the commons by Vasilis Avdikos, GLAMMONS
-RECHARGE: Resilient European Cultural Heritage as Resource for Growth and Engagement by Trilce Navarrete, RECHARGE
-LibrarIN. Value co-creation and social innovation for a new generation of European libraries by Luis Rubalcaba  and Andrej Vrčon, LibrarIN

Open discussion

-The multiple financial channels of GLAMs, chaired by Janet Merkel (Technische Universität Berlin)
-Understanding and Fostering Participation in Cultural Heritage, chaired by Maja Drabczyk (Fundacja Centrum Cyfrowe) with Una Hussey (The Hunt Museum), RECHARGE Living Labs and Kelly Hazejager (Sound & Vision, Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid), RECHARGE Playbook
-Libraries as living labs, chaired by Lars Fuglsang and Luis Rubalcaba, LibrarIN
-Wrap-up and closing of the event by Ares Kalandides

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Financial channels of GLAMs – 01/03/2022

a working paper by Janet Merkel:

The financial survival of many cultural organisations has been shaken, and for some shattered, during the COVID pandemic—at a time when organisations were just coming back from the shock of the global financial crisis and the austerity that ensued in many EU member states. To date, the funding situation, and financial channels of GLAMs remain underexplored in cultural policy and cultural economics literature, especially in a European context as most studies on public funding, earned income, and fundraising are limited to the US and UK. Based on a literature review, a policy mapping across the EU-27 member states, and the result of the GLAMMONS survey that contained several items on the financial situation of GLAMs, this working paper discusses cultural policy changes after the pandemic and the specific changes with the funding of GLAMs and shifts in their financial structure. This working paper aims to gain a broader understanding of the field and get deeper insights into the challenges that GLAMs faced before the COVID-19 pandemic and after it.

The main findings can be summarized as:

  • Since the financial crisis there have been massive shifts in the funding situation of GLAMs. The decline of public funds was mainly replaced with private grants and earned income.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic created again massive decline in income, contributions, and public funding yet most organisations could be stabilized through governmental rescue packages.
  • Alternative fundings are still used not much. When new funding instruments are discussed then usually market-based solutions are discussed, community-based financing is not an issue yet in cultural policy debates.
  • Massive data gaps about:
    • GLAMs in general. While museums and libraries are fairly well-researched, galleries and archives are not. Most research covers big organisations; less is known about the situation of small and mid-sized organisations.
    • Funding situation of GLAMS within and across different GLAM sectors. For example, on archives, there is hardly any available data.
    • Spatial differences and inequalities between core and non-core regions and the support of GLAM with capital regions most often getting the most private contributions.
    • There is little knowledge of donations and civil society support of culture through voluntary work or donations on the local level.

While the findings of the Survey are not representative and only preliminary with a partial exploration of the research topics, they give indications for our shared research on GLAMMONS and can be considered a good starting point for future investigations.

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