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Currently this is a scratchpad for referencing known uses of CC licensing and material in the GLAM sector: Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums. Please add to the list and turn compelling uses into Case Studies.



National Gallery of Denmark - Statens Museum for Kunst

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SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst), The National Gallery of Denmark, has released digital images of 160 highlights, and 100 educational videos on YouTube under the CC BY license. The 160 images and 100 videos are also featured in the Google Art Project. The artworks are free of copyright, but the digital images of them have so far been under copyright restrictions.

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery in the UK has added the CC BY-NC-ND license to its images of portraits. Example:

Tate Gallery

Tate Gallery data set under CC0:


Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Through the Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project, "The images of the Bodleian’s collections included on this site, and linked to via the image viewing interface, may be used for personal and non-commercial purposes under the terms of the UK Creative Commons ‘Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0’ Licence (CC-BY-NC-SA)." More info:

British Library

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The British Library released a large set of their bibliographic data into the public domain via the CC0 public domain dedication. This set is from the British National Bibliography, which contains data on publishing activity from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland since 1950, and comprises 20% of the entire British Library catalog. The dataset currently consists of 3 million individual records.

Canadian University Libraries

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some University libraries offer Creative Commons licensing options in their Institutional Repositories. More research is required in this field.

Cologne-based Libraries

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All bibliographic data from Cologne-based libraries are available to the public with no known copyright restrictions. Cologne-based libraries who surrendered their copyrights using the CC0 public domain dedication include the University and Public Library of Cologne (USB), the Library of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, the University Library of the University of Applied Science of Cologne, and the LBZ. The data is currently linked from the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Center (hbz). For more info, see the blog post.


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Europeana — Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, and the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark — has adopted a new Data Exchange Agreement which releases metadata for millions of cultural works into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication.

Finnish Libraries

Several Finnish libraries have opened up their data via the CC BY-SA license:

Fundamental Scientific Library of the National Academy of Science of Armenia

Harvard Library

Hood River County Library District

This new library district in Oregon, United States, has adopted an intellectual property policy licensing the vast majority of District-produced content under CC BY. The Board of Directors and staff felt this was an appropriate way to maximize the impact of the content produced by this publicly-funded entity.

Land Library of Saxony - State and University Library Dresden

Library of Congress

Library, London School of Economics (British Library of Political and Economic Science)

National Library of Australia

National Library of New Zealand

New York Public Library

Open Library

State Library of Queensland

  • incorporate CC licensed material (and in particular photographs) into their digital storytelling collection
  • release large parts of their photo archives under the Flickr Commons project.
  • also, Queensland museum?

Swedish National Library

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The Swedish National Library signed an agreement in September 2011 that released the Swedish National Bibliography and authority files into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication.

University of California Santa Cruz Library

The University of California Santa Cruz Library has adopted CC BY for all library-produced content. The library details what is and is not licensed under CC BY.

University of Michigan Library

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The University of Michigan Library has surrendered all copyrights to its Open Access bibliographic records via CC0. As of November 17, 2010, the Library released 684,597 bibliographic records into the public domain. The Library also defaults all of its site content under the most open CC license - CC BY.

Villanova University Digital Library

  • The majority of their digital collections are available under some form of CC license (exceptions are those items still within copyright). Most are available under CC BY-SA, but some materials from partner institutions use different variations of CC licenses.
  • Although not available under CC, the Villanova library has also launched two open source library software packages, VuFind (a library resource portal) and VuDL (digital library administration software), both freely available under a GPL.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Bundesarchiv - the German Federal Archive

Collections Council of Australia

Internet Archive

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Sound and Vision launched Open Images, an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse. All media is available under a Creative Commons license. Open Images contains a collection of more than 1,500 videos from the Sound and Vision archives and also welcomes collections from others.


Japan's Public Broadcasting Company:

Staffordshire Hoard

  • Staffordshire Hoard
  • In July 2009, an Anglo-Saxon treasure was found in a field near Birmingham, UK. Since mid-September photographs of the items have been on display on flickr: Some photos are under BY-NC, others under BY-NC-SA.

Wikimedia Foundation

Yale Digital Commons


Amsterdam Historical Museum

In March 2010, The Amsterdam Historical Museum (WAAG) released its complete collection online under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial license, allowing the free redistribution and reuse of the collection for noncommercial purposes. This was the first time in the museum's history that its collection has been available to the public. The collection contains over 70,000 objects dating back to the Middle Ages and is updated on a bi-weekly basis.

Brooklyn Museum

Update: The Brooklyn Museum's text and image collection are now under CC BY.

The Brooklyn Museum has incorporated CC-licensing in a number of ways through out its digital footprint. On a broad level, the museum's image collection is released under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial license, allowing others both share and reuse the images in noncommercial derivative works. Similarly, BM developed an open API that community members can query based on a number of identifiers, including the CC license. Lastly, a remix contest collaboration with Blondie Guitarist Chris Stein saw BM release Stein-produced audio stems under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike license.

  • On October 30th, 2009, Brooklyn Museum opened Who Shot Rock & Roll, an exhibition commemorating photographers and their creative role in rock & roll history. To celebrate, the museum has teamed up with Chris Stein for a companion musical project called Who Shot Drums and Bass. Its eight original songs are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Brooklyn Museum is asking remixers to download the tracks from its Soundcloud page and remix them for the Who Shot Rock & Roll: Remix! contest. Details on the Brooklyn Museum website. (Info from Creative Commons Blog)


MoMA has released its dataset with more than 120,000 records of art works into the public domain using CC0.

National Historical Museum, Sweden

Also known as the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities, the Swedish Historical Museum (Historiska museet) released roughly 63,500 item photographs, 1200 illustrations, and 264,500 scanned catalog cards under a CC license in early 2010 - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works or Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike depending on medium. Heralded as a first step, Historiska Museet is looking at avenues to continue opening their catalog with less restrictions in the future as they better understand how the public will engage these new resources.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was one of the first major cultural institutions to utilize CC licensing, releasing their classical music podcast The Concert under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license in September of 2006. By allowing the free sharing and re-distribution of their podcast, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been able to reach a wide ranging audience with The Concert seeing over one million downloads from over 116 different countries, creating a positive promotional tool for the museum and its classical music program.

National September 11 Memorial Museum

In December of 2008, the National September 11th Memorial Museum launched its Artist Registry, allowing the public the ability to add their 9/11 inspired works to the museum's collection. The museum allowed users to designate a CC license while uploading, encouraging community submissions in a progressive and socially responsible fashion.

Participatory Museum

  • (
  • Book/wiki about how museums can become more interactive with their patrons
  • Released CC BY-NC license
  • Creator, Nina Simon, is smart and would be good to build copy with

Powerhouse Museum

Sydney's Powerhouse Museum has integrated CC-licensing into a number of its projects from the inclusion of CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative licensed photos to its Photo of the Day project to offering downloadable resources from Play at Powerhouse, PHM’s education program for children, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. In addition, PHM has released object descriptions, production notes, history notes under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial License, similarly releasing factual data (object dimensions, relevant dates, etc.) under a CC Attribution-Share Alike license

The Rijksmuseum

More info:

Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt

Statens Museum for Kunst

SMK, Statens Museum for Kunst, The National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen, has released digital images of 160 highlights, and 100 educational videos on YouTube under the CC BY license. The 160 images and 100 videos are also featured in the Google Art Project. The artworks are free of copyright, but the digital images of them have so far been under copyright restrictions. From now on, they are freely available to our users for any purpose. As a national gallery, we believe that those parts of our collections that are in the Public Domain belong to everyone. With this limited selection of content, we want to test how people use these freely available digital resources in new creative and innovative ways.


  • Tropenmuseum
  • has collaborated with the local Wikimedia community, to document materials in the museum’s collection (eg through photography) and upload this material to Wikicommons (see slides here)
  • and so have 45 other museums in the Netherlands; the full list is also available on the Wiki Loves Art website.

Walter Art Museum

York Museums Trust

Released 60,000 images under CC BY-SA or marked with Public Domain Mark:

Te Papa Tongarewa: The Museum of New Zealand

Te Papa has released 30,000 high resolution images under either 'no known copyright' or CC-BY-NC-ND licences.

Wikipedia Loves Art

Institutions using licenses for materials that should be marked as in the public domain

Additional resources

Some U.S. museum policies on open access, in order of public launch:

Related studies and other resources:

  • "The Problem with the Yellow Milkmaid"; Interviews and case studies examine the motivations and business models behind open access for cultural materials
  • Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open GLAM initiative; OpenGLAM is an initiative run by the Open Knowledge Foundation that promotes free and open access to digital cultural heritage held by Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. Twitter: @openglam and #openglam Subscribe to the OpenGLAM mailing list:
  • OpenGLAM Principles; 6 principles to be championed by “open” institutions, developed by the Open Knowledge Foundation and community volunteers

In the news