Belgian cultural institutions are becoming interested in Open Data and start to work on making their collection open. That became clear on 21 May in a Masterclass Open Culture Data in Brussels which was attended by about 20 data providers and was organized by PACKED vzw (Expertise Centre Digital Heritage), Creative Commons Belgium, Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium and FARO (support for the cultural heritage field in Flanders and Brussels). Another second day of the masterclass went more into the depth of the subject.
On the 21st of May five presentations were given. First there was an introduction about what copyright is, the second presentation explained Open Data, then a presentation was given about the Creative Commons licenses, the fourth presentation was about Wikipedia and Wikimedia including examples of GLAM projects and the final presentation was about clearing the rights of the material the institutions host.
The definition given in the presentation for Open Data was:
Open Data is data which is publicly accessible and reusable.
If we compare the definition of Open Data with the Vision of the Wikimedia Foundation, we notice that both are almost identical but are only written with different words and different focus.
Data providers become more and more aware of their role in the changing world. The biggest change is the shift from analogue to a digital environment. Flanders wants to be in a leading position in the information society, and to get there, there is a need for a reliable, qualitative and durable digital memory. (Dutch)
Another remarkable and important quote to keep in mind is:
Copyright is temporary.
— Presentation introduction about copyright
Afterwards works will enter the public domain and then they are entirely free. Even if an organisation holds a piece of art of which the author died more than 70 years ago, the work is in the public domain and the organisation who has the work in its collection does not own the copyrights on the work. Interesting in relationship with this is the Public Domain Charter.
A report in Dutch about the masterclass of 21 May can be found at this page.
Other projects in Belgium
Currently there is no chapter yet in Belgium, but we are working to establish one this year, and we are organizing at the moment three projects for the coming months: two edit-a-thons and Wiki Loves Monuments in Belgium and Luxembourg in September. The coming edit-a-thon will be at the end of June and is about the World War I which had a big impact In Flanders Fields. (project page)