Submissions/Redefining Open Access in Cultural Heritage

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This is an Open submission for Wikimania 2017 that has not yet been reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 2042 Subject - C7
Title of the submission

Redefining Open Access in Cultural Heritage

Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)

Lecture; I would also be interested in a panel or roundtable discussion too.

Author of the submission

James Blake Wiener

Language of presentation


E-mail address




Country of origin

United States of America; company is based in the U.K.

Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

Co-Founder and Communications Director at Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE)

Personal homepage or blog

Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

History is fundamental for understanding the world we live in today: Our knowledge and interpretation of history shapes how we define ourselves as nations and as cultures, and it influences how we see other cultures. As historians and publishers of historical information, we have a responsibility to help educate the public about our shared European and global cultural heritage, especially in times of geopolitical upheaval. Over the last decades, open access publishing has become widespread with the help of the internet. This is a positive development, but it's not enough: Historians, publishers, and cultural institutions must move beyond the paradigm of simply making it free. No publication is truly "open access" unless it is engaging, easy to read, and understandable by the general public. In order for cultural heritage to reach a wide audience, it must be presented in a visually appealing style, be written in clear and common language, and be made meaningful to people today. Only when cultural heritage becomes interesting to the general public is it truly ''open access.'' This talk explores ways in which digital cultural heritage can be used to make our history truly relevant to a wide audience of millions of people. We will look at ways to transform research, data and other information that otherwise would only reach a small specialist audience, and how individuals can share it with the world. Mr. James Blake Wiener is a co-founder of Ancient History Encyclopedia, the world's most-read history encyclopedia, with over 16.7 million individual readers per year, and he will draw upon this experience to distil general principles of digital heritage publishing.

L'Histoire est fondamentale pour comprendre le monde dans lequel nous vivons aujourd'hui: notre connaissance et notre interprétation de l'Histoire modèlent la façon dont nous nous définissons en tant que nations et en tant que cultures, et cela influence la façon dont nous voyons les autres. En tant qu'historiens et éditeurs d'informations historiques, nous avons la responsabilité d'informer le public sur notre patrimoine culturel européen et mondial commun, en particulier en période de bouleversement géopolitique. Au cours des dernières décennies, la publication en libre accès est devenue de plus en plus répandue, notamment grâce à Internet. C'est une évolution très positive, mais ce n'est pas suffisant: les historiens, les éditeurs et les institutions culturelles doivent aller au-delà du paradigme de la simple gratuité. Aucune publication n'est véritablement en «libre accès» à moins qu'elle soit engageante et facile à comprendre par tous. Pour que notre patrimoine culturel puisse atteindre un large public, il doit: être présenté dans un style visuellement attrayant, être écrit dans un langage clair et commun et être pertinent et actuel. Alors seulement nous pourrons parler de véritable libre accès. M. James Blake Wiener, cofondateur de l'Ancient History Encyclopedia, l'encyclopédie historique la plus lue du monde, avec plus de 16,7 millions de lecteurs individuels par an, s'appuiera sur son expérience pour expliquer les façons de transformer la recherche, les données et d'autres informations qui, autrement, n'atteindraient qu'un petit public spécialisé. Cette conférence explorera également les façons dont le patrimoine culturel numérique peut être utilisé pour rendre notre histoire véritablement pertinente et partagée avec des millions de personnes.

What will attendees take away from this session?

Attendees will learn how to use online media to make cultural heritage relevant and pertinent to broad audiences.

Theme of presentation
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?
Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)

25 Minutes

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.


This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

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  1. John Andersson (WMSE) (talk) 08:55, 14 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 15:52, 28 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]