FAQ: Open Access to Digital Representations of Works in the Public Domain from Museum, Library, and Archive Collections at Yale University

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You should always consult the applicable Terms of Use when accessing any Yale online resource, but here are answers to some commonly asked questions about open access.

  1. What is Yale University's Open Access Policy?
  2. What works or content are governed by Yale’s Open Access Policy?
  3. Where can I find Yale’s open access digital images?
  4. How do I know whether content is subject to the Open Access Policy?
  5. Are high resolution, publication quality images available? How do I download them?
  6. Does Yale place any restrictions on open access material?
  7. Can I use open access digital images for academic or classroom projects?
  8. Do I need to ask for permission from Yale to reproduce open access digital images?
  9. Does Yale need to be credited in any way when I reproduce an image?
  10. Does the policy apply to any Yale-authored content, such as text, video, digital media and websites?
  11. What should I do if I hold rights in a work or an image I find on a Yale digital collection website?
  12. Why do some records appear without images?
  13. I know Yale owns a painting (or book, manuscript, etc.) that is in the public domain, but I can’t find a record or image online. How do I get more information or an image?
  14. Are there any restrictions on machine harvesting of Yale's metadata and images?
  15. Where can I find more information about Yale’s Open Access Policy and Cross Collection Discovery Project?
  16. Where can I find more information about copyright and the public domain?

1. What is Yale University’s Open Access Policy?

Yale University’s Open Access Policy provides license- and royalty- free access to digital images of public domain materials in Yale collections. Open access digital images may be used by anyone for any purpose.

For the full policy, see Open Access to Digital Representations of Works in the Public Domain from Museum, Library, and Archive Collections

For the announcement of the policy, see Digital Images of Yale’s Vast Cultural Collections Now Available for Free

2.  What works or content are governed by Yale’s Open Access Policy?

The Open Access Policy applies to digital images of works in Yale University’s museum, archive and library collections that are believed to be in the public domain and free of other restrictions, available through Yale’s electronic interfaces. The policy does not apply to works protected by copyright, by privacy rights, or that are otherwise restricted. Visit the links toward the end of this document for more information about copyright.

3. Where can I find Yale’s open access digital images?

You can discover Yale’s open access digital images through the Discover Yale Digital Content or through individual collection websites.

4.  How do I know whether content is subject to the Open Access Policy?

You can determine whether content is subject to the Open Access Policy by consulting available information in online records, or by contacting the individual library, archive or museum collection.

Please note that not all content available through Discover Yale Digital Content and other Yale collection websites is unrestricted. The University and its museums, libraries and archives make every effort to accurately determine the status of all works and their images, but make no warrantees. As an end user, you are solely responsible for the use of any images obtained from a Yale department or site.

Any content that requires Yale University log-in or authentication to access is not considered openly available.

5. Are high resolution, publication quality images available? How do I download them?

Yes. Some images may be available for download through Discover Yale Digital Content. Higher resolution images may be available for download only from individual library, archive and museum websites, where you will find details about image size and resolution.

6. Does Yale place any restrictions on open access material?

No. As far as Yale is concerned, digital images which fall under the Open Access Policy may be used for any purpose.

7. Can I use open access digital images for academic or classroom projects?

Yes.

8. Do I need to ask for permission from Yale to reproduce open access digital images?

No. You do not need to ask for permission from Yale to reproduce digital images provided under the Open Access Policy. All uses of images, including reproduction, are permitted without further application, authorization, or any fees to Yale.

9. Does Yale need to be credited in any way when I reproduce an image?

So that others might find cited materials, you are encouraged to identify and credit works provided by Yale museums and libraries. In most cases, images are accompanied by the appropriate identifying information.

The use of the Yale name or trademarks for any purpose outside of crediting works or images to Yale’s collections requires the prior approval of the Yale University Licensing Program

10. Does the policy apply to any Yale-authored content, such as text, video, digital media and websites?

 No. This content is not in the public domain.

11. What should I do if I hold rights in a work or an image I find on a Yale digital collection website?

Contact the individual museum, library, archive or YDC2 (ydc2@yale.edu) right away for assistance.

12. Why do some records appear without images?

Some works may not be digitized yet, the copyright status may be undetermined, or the works may be otherwise restricted.

13. I know Yale owns a painting (or book, manuscript, etc.) that is in the public domain, but I can’t find a record or image online. How do I get more information or an image?

Not all works in Yale collections have been catalogued or digitized. The content available online through Yale’s Cross Collection Discovery and library, archive and museum websites will grow as University departments catalogue and digitize more of their collections. In the meantime, to request more information or new photography, contact the individual Yale department, library, archive or museum that holds the item.

14. Are there any restrictions on machine harvesting of Yale's metadata and images?

There are no restrictions on Yale's service for machine harvesting of metadata built on the Open Archives Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). 

A companion service for harvesting images will be available in the summer of 2012. Images up to 1920 pixels by 1920 pixels will be machine harvestable. Larger images will also be open to the public with a CAPTCHA restriction to prevent automatic harvesting in order to ensure the highest quality of online delivery.

15.  Where can I find more information about Yale’s Open Access Policy and Cross Collection Discovery Project?

Contact the Yale Digital Collections Center at ydc2@yale.edu.

16. Where can I find more information about copyright and the public domain?

The following resources may be helpful:

 

 

Yale University Policy
Open Access to Digital Representations of Works in the Public Domain
From Museum, Library and Archive Collections
2011

General Principle: The preservation, transmission, and advancement of knowledge in the digital age are promoted by the creative use and reuse of digitized content for research, teaching, learning, and creative activities. The goal of digitization is to enhance access to the collections in Yale’s museums, archives, and libraries for students, faculty, and the world. To this end, Yale will make digital copies of unrestricted public domain collections available for use without limitations through the University’s electronic interfaces.

Copyright: Yale University fully supports the protection of intellectual property and is committed to complying with and strictly adhering to all applicable copyright law.

Privacy: Yale University respects the right to privacy of individuals and groups and is committed to complying with and strictly adhering to all applicable legal requirements in protecting that privacy.

Donor Restriction: Yale University is committed to strictly adhering to provisions embodied in agreements with donors of collections.

Other Restrictions: Yale University is sensitive to social and religious customs and requirements that may limit access to some works in its collections, and may, in its own discretion, restrict access accordingly.

Yale Marks/Name: The use of the Yale name or trademarks for any purpose – other than standard source citation (see Acknowledgement below) – requires the prior approval of the Office of the Vice President and Secretary. Contact information for this office may be found at: http://www.yale.edu/licensing/general.html

Acknowledgement: Users are asked to attribute the work in the manner specified by the applicable museum, library, or archive guidelines, without suggestion of endorsement.