Smithsonian Releases 3 Million Images into the Wild
- By Dian Schaffhauser
has launched an open access project that removes copyright
restrictions from about 2.8 million images from its digital
collection and almost two centuries' worth of data. "Smithsonian
allows online visitors to download, transform and share this content
for any purpose, for free. Over the last month, since the opening of
the initiative, nearly a quarter of a million assets have been
downloaded by users and almost 15 million assets have been viewed.
it'll grow, the organization noted. The Smithsonian will continue to
add items on an ongoing basis, with another 200,000 images being
considered for open access designation by late 2020.
includes high-resolution 2D and 3D images of collection items, along
with research datasets and collections metadata, which users can
download and access in bulk. The compilation was pulled from all 19
museums making up the Institution, as well as nine research centers,
libraries, archives and the National Zoo.
the Smithsonian had a collection of 4.7 million images available
online, specifically for personal, non-commercial and educational
use. Now most of those carry a Creative
Commons "Zero" designation,
which waives the Institution's copyright altogether and allows
commercial users to tap into the collection without any kind of
open access will also make Smithsonian content available via
Arts & Culture
and other digital platforms.
access exemplifies the Smithsonian's core mission: the ‘increase
and diffusion' of knowledge our institution has fostered for nearly
175 years," said John Davis, interim director of the Cooper
Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, who led the initiative from its
inception, in a statement. "With Smithsonian Open Access, we're
inviting people everywhere to make that knowledge their own––to
share and build on our digital collections for everything from
creative works, to education and scholarly research, to bold
innovations we have yet to imagine."
hosting is being provided by the Amazon
Web Services Public Dataset Program.
collection is housed online at
the Open Access website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.