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Digital

Loic Tallon, Issue 118/04, p14, 01.04.2018
Partnerships open new doors
In February 2017, the Met launched its Open Access initiative, which made more than 375,000 images of public domain artworks in the museum’s collection available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which waives copyright interests. These images, and their associated data, became available for artists, designers, students, professionals and hobbyists to use, share and remix without restriction.

The Wikimedia community was quick to respond to the opportunities, and its partnership with the Met over the past year has fundamentally reshaped how we are now thinking about the fulfilment of our mission in the digital age.

Publishing the Met’s CC0 images and data to articles on Wikipedia means the museum’s collection is now encountered by more than 10 million people every month. This is three times the traffic to our institutional website and represents a 150% growth in just under 12 months.

These connections with the collection are also taking place in languages, contexts and on a scale that we cannot replicate internally or on our website.

Will this type of partnership replace the Met’s digital programme and its website? No, as we remain committed to developing the Met’s online collection as the canonical and comprehensive source of information and scholarship about the museum’s art.

But we need to also think about our audiences, and serve their existing habits. There are online spaces where audiences already go for their doses of creativity, knowledge and ideas. To remain relevant to these audiences, and increase access to our collections, we need to be participating in those spaces.

Loic Tallon is the chief digital officer at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art