Culture Grid


Last modified: May 25, 2010

What is the Culture Grid?

Culture Grid joins up UK collections information from different sources and makes it available for more use by more people.

What is the aim of the Culture Grid?

The aim of the Culture Grid is to amplify the impact and value of UK collections.

What are the benefits of the Culture Grid?

People are better connected to UK collections information as access can be provided in more ways from more services fed by the Culture Grid.

The sector has a single place to offer UK collections information (as a whole or in parts) to more services for more use and audience reach.

Funders and producers of collections information gain better return on investment from increased use and reach; and strategic development of the Culture Grid.

What kinds of collections information can you add to the Culture Grid?

You can add collections information, (descriptions referencing image, audio, video and text content) about:

  • Items in museum, gallery, library and archive etc collections (objects, documents, photos etc)
  • Collections in museums, galleries, libraries and archives etc, (their scope and coverage etc)
  • Collections related organisations (contact and access details etc)

How will collections information be stored in the Culture Grid?

In the case of item information this will mostly be descriptions and preview content, (e.g. thumbnail images), so that people can be referred back to the original source for further information and higher quality content, (i.e. Culture Grid acts as a registry or directory)

The Culture Grid can also act as a low cost repository for directly holding, managing and supplying collections information and content for different purposes

What collections information is in the Culture Grid now?

Over 3 million item records, mostly of images of objects from over 100 different collections of national, regional and local scope from museums, galleries, libraries , archives and elsewhere
Over 10,000 collection descriptions covering all subjects areas
Over 8,000 records of contact details of museums, galleries, libraries, archives etc

How will collections information in the Culture Grid grow?

  • From join up with funding programmes, e.g. European Commission, Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and JISC
  • From project join up e.g. Public Catalogue Foundation; Subject Specialist ‘Collection Mapping’; University Museums In Scotland: Hidden Collections
  • Open invitation

Where can collections information from the Culture Grid be found?

Culture Grid is the UK ‘national aggregator’ for Europeana, the European Cultural Portal

Culture Grid  powers the Univeristy Museums in Scotland Search; People’s Network Discover Service; Find a Library and Exploring 20th Century London

Culture Grid is used by independent developers and Creative Industry SMEs to produce prototype services that make innovative use of collections infromation and is often featured at  ‘Hack’ events.

Search Engines such as Google can easily index information from the Culture Grid

Any websites (organisational, sector, place or subject specific etc) could add a custom search of collections information from the Culture Grid or connect to Culture Grid by API or OAI harvesting

What is the rights situation governing material in the Culture Grid ?

There is no transfer of ownership in rights through contributing records or any media files to the Culture Grid.

Instead contributors are asked to licence material using Creative Commons Licensing or similar and record rights information within records so that viewers and users of records are aware of the rights governing material in collections.

Records (metadata) submitted to the Culture Grid should by be made available under an Open Licence, such as the Open Government Licence, so that they may be openly re-used to support the widest possible discovery and use of collections.

Any media files hosted by the Culture Grid should also be made available under an Open Licence wherever possible e.g. for works that are out of copyright. If third party rights do not allow for open use, then another appropriate licence should be applied and included in the metadata record, so that users are aware of the rights status of media files and collection-objects.

For a full introduction to Creative Commons licensing and tools to generate appropriate CC licences for materials see:

All records provided by Culture Grid to Europeana are govenerned by the terms of a Data Exchange Agreement between Collections Trust and Europeana (  This agreement permits open use of all metadata provided to Europeana via Culture Grid.  Data in Europeana is also subject to the Europeana Data Use Guidelines (, which supports attribution of contributors to Europeana.  Contributors to Culture Grid wishing to be included in Europeana thus need to agree with these policies.

Can the Culture Grid help with income stream generation?

Yes, as the Culture Grid refers people back to the sources who contribute, it acts as a marketing tool for any commercial services you offer e.g. ticket or image buying features on your websites, (many of the current contributors to Culture Grid offer such services).