Title:What Does Openness Mean to the Museum Community?
Authors:Mike Ellis, Brian Kelly, Ross Gardler
Publication:MW2008: Museums and the Web 2008

In the provision of networked services for museums, the term 'openness' crops up in a variety of contexts including open standards and open source software. In addition, the Web 2.0 environment has led to increased interest in open content and in the use of freely available networked applications which may be regarded as open services. This focus on openness for the developer or service provider can be complemented with a culture of openness which encourages the users to actively engage with services and generate their own content.

It can be difficult to argue against the benefits which openness seeks to provide. But will a commitment to openness guarantee the deployment of effective and sustainable services? This paper explores in more detail the potential benefits of openness, but also acknowledges associated limitations. The authors argue that a more sophisticated approach is needed: one which seeks to make use of open standards, open source and open content if these can help to deliver sustainable services, but is prepared to take a more flexible approach if the perceived difficulties are felt to outweigh possible benefits.