Those who have been following open access activities for a while know that some of the most interesting and innovative work in the field, both in Australia and internationally, is being done by galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Collecting institutions are a natural home for open access activities – after all, the whole point of most of them is to provide material, information and resources to the public.
It is hardly surprising, then, that as digital technologies have developed collecting institutions have generally been in the forefront, delivering their material to users and connecting with the general public in new, creative and fun ways. And as the public seeks more and more to use and interact with these materials, collecting institutions are exploring how open access policies can increase their utility for the public.
Seeing this potential, in 2009 Creative Commons Australia’s sister research centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, established a research project aimed specifically at exploring and encouraging open access strategies within Australia’s collecting institutions.
After spending most of 2009 and 2010 consulting with representatives of the collecting sector in Australia, the Opening Australia’s Archives has now released its first output – the Open Access Principles for Australian Collecting Institutions.