Open Heritage Data: An Introduction to Research, Publishing and Programming with Open Data in the Heritage Sector

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

This book combines current research in open data practices in the heritage sector with technical step-by-step guides on how to work with heritage data for visualisation, mapping, and mining.  The book begins with an overview of the extent of open heritage data, a thorough review of the current literature and original case studies from practitioners at Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America, fx. Rijksmuseum, the National Gallery of Denmark and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The second part of the book puts the theory into practice with a series of step-by-step guides that take the reader through creating, publishing, using and reusing open heritage data.  The book covers: 

  • copyright and licensing for digitised and born-digital heritage material;
  • publishing different data types as open data (images, maps, structured data);
  • finding open data with a guide to using APIs;
  • visualizing open data;
  • mapping open data;
  • mining open data; and
  • the use of open data with examples of how to reuse, remix, hack and mashup open data.

1. Openness in heritage
2. Copyright and licensing
3. Publishing open data 
4. Finding open data
5. Visualising open data
6. Mapping open data
7. Mining open data
8. Encouraging use of open data

Henriette Roued-Cunliffe

Henriette Roued-Cunliffe is an Assistant Professor at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She teaches and researches heritage data and information, and in particular how DIY culture is engaging with cultural heritage online and often outside of institutions. Her website is:

"'Digitization in Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums is becoming more prevalent, and so is sharing the data that results from that effort in open and reusable forms. However, navigating the complex information environment to identify, locate, reuse, and repurpose openly licensed heritage data can be tricky. In this useful introductory text, Roued-Cunliffe covers a wealth of issues regarding openly available digitized content, including legal, technical, and social aspects. Covering use, users, methodological approaches, and infrastructure, this is a timely compass to those considering how open data fits into their research, or art, practices, showing the range of activities than can be possible once collections allow reuse and repurposing of their digital assets."

— Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage, University of Edinburgh

"Open, heritage and data are by no doubt some of the most debated and discussed concepts of our time. In contrast to much of the earlier work that has focused on either the practical or theoretical sides of data and openness in the heritage field, this wonderfully approachable volume provides an insightful and personal introduction to open heritage data both in theory, and through easy to start with hands-on exercises in tapping into various types of heritage data, also in practice."

— Isto Huvila, Professor, Uppsala University

"This book offers a unique take on one of the most urgent challenges for the GLAM sector today - that of building bridges between cultural heritage professionals and new technologies. It’s a blatant lack in our skillset not to be able to understand the machinery that so shapes how we work with heritage in the 21st century. Roued-Cunliffe to the rescue! With her combined background in archaeology, teaching and coding, she competently guides us through the tech maze, opening up the world of open heritage data both as a philosophy and toolbox in clear, pedagogical steps."

— Merete Sanderhoff, Curator/Senior advisor, SMK, The National Gallery of Denmark  

"Digitization is not enough. Henriette Roued-Cunliffe’s book is both a strong argument for the sharing of heritage data, and a font of inspiration and ideas. Mixing discussions of copyright with snippets of code, she encourages institutions and individuals to make a start — to look beyond the problems and explore the potential of open heritage data for creativity and research."

— Tim Sherratt, Associate Professor of Digital Heritage, University of Canberra