Europe's digital library Europeana has been described as the 'jewel in the crown' of the sprawling web estate of EU institutions.
It aggregates digitised books, paintings, photographs, recordings and films from over 2,200 contributing cultural heritage organisations across Europe - including major national bodies such as the British Library, the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum.
Today Europeana is opening up data about all 20 million of the items it holds under the CC0 rights waiver. This means that anyone can reuse the data for any purpose - whether using it to build applications to bring cultural content to new audiences in new ways, or analysing it to improve our understanding of Europe's cultural and intellectual history.
This is a coup d'etat for advocates of open cultural data. The data is being released after a grueling and unenviable internal negotiation process that has lasted over a year - involving countless meetings, workshops, and white papers presenting arguments and evidence for the benefits of openness.