Metadata for over 20 Million Cultural Objects released into the Public Domain by Europeana

Europeana today announced that its dataset comprising descriptions of more than 20 Million cultural objects is from now on openly licensed with Creative Commons’ public domain waiver CC0. From the announcement:

Europeana logo

Opportunities for apps developers, designers and other digital innovators will be boosted today as the digital portal Europeana opens up its dataset of over 20 million cultural objects for free re-use.

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.

Europeana’s move to CC0 is a step change in open data access. Releasing data from across the memory organisations of every EU country sets an important new international precedent, a decisive move away from the world of closed and controlled data.

Thanks to all the people who made this possible! See also Jonathan Gray’s post at the Guardian’s Datablog.

Update 30 September 2012: Actually, it is not true to call this release “by far the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain using CC0”. In December 2011 two German library networks released their catalog b3kat under CC0 which by then held 22 million descriptions of bibliographic resources. See this post for more information.

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