Those of you who follow us will know we have been touting The Dictionary of Sydney for quite some time. This project – which aims to establish a self-sustaining digital encyclopaedia of the history of Sydney, Australia – is one of the examples we use of how CC can be integrated into broader cultural projects to add to their value to the broader population, and even got its own entry in the case studies book we released earlier this year – despite the fact it didn’t technically exist.

We are now pleased to announce the the Dictionary it has now been officially launched! Or at least its first website has.

The website, which is run by a group of partner organisations supported principally by an ARC grant, is a dictionary, encyclopaedia, atlas, guidebook and gazetteer all in one. It already includes 470 entries, 600,000 words, 1200+ images and multimedia items as well as over 10,000 links and annotations, and the website is still growing. The Dictionary seeks to cover all kinds of history, from social and cultural history to economic history; from the first human inhabitants to the present.

Contributions – including text, photos, and audiovisual objects – have been sourced from a wide range of people including academics, historians, and volunteer members of the general public. But most interesting from our point of view – while copyright in all material posted on the website remains with the original author, contributors have been given the option to license their work to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence. The CC licence is entirely optional, but it’s encouraged to as a way to increase the utility of the material, allowing it to be reused by the general public, teachers, students, community groups, tour operators and even Wikipedia.

Excitingly, they’ve had a brilliant response. To date, most text contributors seem to have taken them up on the offer. This means that just about every page on the site is marked with the CC BY-SA logo, allowing the text to be reused, remixed and repurposed by anyone.

Having such a wealth of information from a wide range of professionals as well as locals free of charge is of great benefit and an excellent example of the people involved giving back to the community. The many different topics and contributors will also provide an in depth perspective of the history of our national’s largest city, bringing to life the characters, political players, writers, dreamers, sports people, and even criminals who have made the city what it is today.

So get out there and explore the wealth of information now available for you to share and reuse. Or better yet, click on the contribution link on the website to add your own story to this new knowledge commons.

This post was written with CCau volunteer, Kelsey Lancaster