According to this press-release from Europeana Professional, the massive European Union-funded project has released 20 million records on cultural heritage items under a Creative Commons Zero (Public Domain) license.
The massive dataset is the descriptive information about Europe’s digitised treasures. For the first time, the metadata is released under the Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication, meaning that anyone can use the data for any purpose – creative, educational, commercial – with no restrictions. This release, which is by far the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain using CC0 offers a new boost to the digital economy, providing electronic entrepreneurs with opportunities to create innovative apps and games for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals.
Upon registering for access to the Europeana API, developers can build tools or interfaces on this data, download metadata into new platforms for novel purposes, make money off it, perform new research, create artistic works, or anything.
It’s important to note that it’s only the metadata that is being freely released here: I did a search for some Greek inscriptions, and also photographs and transcriptions are available, these are all fiercely copyrighted to the Greek Ministry of Culture: ” As for all monuments of cultural heritage, permission from the Greek Ministry of Culture is required for the reproduction of photographs of the inscriptions.” (According to this same license statement, even the metadata are licensed: “Copyright for all data in the collection belongs to the Institute for Greek and Roman Antiquity of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. These data may be used freely, provided that there is explicit reference to their provenance. ” Which seems slightly at odds with the CC0 claim of the Europeana site; no doubt closer examination of the legal terms would reveal which claim supercedes in this case.)
(It was lovely to be reminded that inscriptions provided by the Pandektis project [like this funerary monument for Neikagoras] have text made available in EpiDoc XML as well as Leiden-formatted edition.)
It would be really good to hear about any implementations, tools or demos built on top of this data, especially if that had a classics component. Any pointers yet? Or do we need to organize a hackfest to get it started….?