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Open Minds: Celebrating Smithsonian Open Access With Effie Kapsalis

About CC, Open Culture

In two days, the Smithsonian will celebrate one year of Smithsonian Open Access. This initiative removed copyright restrictions from 2.8 million digital collection 2D and 3D images and nearly two centuries of data using Creative Commons’ public domain dedication tool (CC0). Launched just before many of us went into lockdown due to COVID-19, Smithsonian Open Access unexpectedly became an invaluable resource for parents and educators alike as traditional education was disrupted due to the pandemic. 

Effie Kapsalis To mark this occasion, we reconnected with Effie Kapsalis (Senior Digital Program Officer, Smithsonian) for our new 20th-anniversary podcast, “Open Minds…from Creative Commons.”

In this episode, we talk through the history of Smithsonian Open Access, including the years of research and collaboration it took to get the initiative launched, where it’s going as new challenges have emerged (e.g. mis/disinformation on digital platforms), and Effie’s personal advice for other open advocates in the cultural heritage sector. Hint: Leverage research like this paper!

The value of open “was always to be able to include many hands in the work we have to do to make this live on into perpetuity.” 

You’ll leave this episode energized by Effie’s telling of the journey of Smithsonian Open Access, which has undoubtedly reaffirmed her belief in the power and the value of open access. “We had a class of graduate data [visualization] students from Parsons [School of Design] this last semester and they created these really delightful explorations of different pockets of our collections,” she explained, “This is the value of open—it was always to be able to include many hands in the work we have to do to make this live on into perpetuity.” 

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, and more. You can also subscribe via the show’s RSS feed.

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Posted 24 February 2021