[Foundation-l] Considerations for museums and archives to gain their cooperation

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Mon Mar 30 15:40:45 UTC 2009

Public Domain is a side issue. The real issue is about how to cooperate with
archives and museums. The fact that something that is in the public domain
can be used in any which way is true but largely irrelevant when you
consider that only a fraction of the material that is in archives and
museums has been digitised. It is irrelevant when it is the museums
themselves who want to digitise their material and make it available to the

The issue is how do we deal with material that cannot be sourced, relevant
material that has no provenance. The question is when you have important
material that is effectively orphaned. Where the organisation that has the
material in its collection is willing to give it to us. Where the only thing
known about a collection can be as little as we got it at this date from
that person who was the son of so and so and where this was at a time when
we did not have the legalese form that satisfies our modern day copyright

When we are to collaborate with museums and archives, we have to treat them
as partners. The real issue is how do we partner and do more then just say
"thank you". We have more to offer then Flickr, we just have to consider the
position of our partners and demonstrate this in what we do.

2009/3/30 Yaroslav M. Blanter <putevod at mccme.ru>

> > Hoi.
> > I am talking to a few museums and archives and several of them are
> > interested in considering Commons for their collection. At the same time
> > they are also considering Flickr.
> >
> I am not sure I understand the issue.
> If we are talking about PD material, whether it is hosted on Flickr, on
> the website of the museum or elsewhere, we can still use it and upload on
> Commons (possibly by a bot). Example: Finnish National Gallery
> http://www.ateneum.fi/ has on its site virtually all canvasses and many of
> the graphic works it possesses, which gives a good overview of Finnish
> painting in general. I do not see why those images which are PD can not be
> uploaded on Commons. Same would apply if they hosted on Flickr.
> If material is not PD, it can not be uploaded.
> What is wrong with this reasoning?
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
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