, a neologism
coined by analogy with "open source
", describes any kind of creative work
published in a format that explicitly allows copying and modifying of its information by anyone, not exclusively by a closed organization, firm or individual. The largest open content
project is Wikipedia
Work on a technical definition for open content has been undertaken by the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Open Knowledge Definition (OKD) gives a set of conditions for openness in knowledge - much as the Open Source Definition does for open-source software. Content can be either in the public domain or under a license which allows re-distribution and re-use, such as Creative Commons Attribution and Attribution-Sharealike licenses or the GFDL. It is worth noting that the OKD covers open data as well as open content.
It is possible that the first documented case of open content was the Royal Society
, which aspired to share information across the globe as a public enterprise. The term "open content" was first used in the modern context by David Wiley
, then a graduate student at Brigham Young University
, who founded the Open Content Project
and put together the first content-specific (non-software) license in 1998, with input from Eric Raymond
, Tim O'Reilly
, and others.
As with the terms "open source" and "free software"
, some open content materials can also be described as "free content
", although technically they describe different things. For example, the Open Directory Project
is open content but is not free content. The main difference between licenses is the definition of freedom
: some licenses attempt to maximize the freedom of all potential recipients in the future while others maximize the freedom of the initial recipient.
The related term "common content" is occasionally used to refer to Creative Commons
–licensed works. This takes after the Common Content
project, which is an attempt to collect as many such works as possible.
" refers to a special category of material, consisting of freely available published peer-reviewed
Open-content search engines
With the increased interest in open content, many universities have started offering online video/audio courses to the general public, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and Princeton University
. This has resulted in a great increase in providers of open content. The difficulty of keeping track of all such content had led to the birth of open-content search engines.
Major open content repositories and directories