Open content

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Open content, coined by analogy with "open source" describes any kind of creative work including articles, pictures, audio, and video that is published in a format that explicitly allows the copying of the information. Technically, it is royalty free, share alike and may or may not allow commercial redistribution. Content can be either in the public domain or under a license like one of the Creative Commons licenses. The term is also used to emphasize content that can be modified by anyone; not exclusively by a closed organization, firm or individual.

It is possible that the first documented case of Open Content was with the Royal Society, where they aspired toward information sharing across the globe as a public enterprise. The commonality is difficult to dismiss. The words "open content" were first put together in this context by David Wiley, then a graduate student at Brigham Young University, who founded the OpenContent project and put together the first content-specific (non-software) license in 1998 with input from Eric Raymond, Tim O'Reilly, and others.

Like the debate between the titles "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. Much of the ideals of the open source movement was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). One such application is their Open Courseware.

With the rise in popularity of Open Content, many universities have started offering online video/audio courses to the general public. This has resulted in a plethora of open content providers. Keeping track of all of them would be no ordinary task for a user whose only interest is to find a course on a specific topic. This led to the birth of Open Content search engines. Currently, sites like OpenContentOnline and OCWFinder allow users to search for open content provided by multiple universities.

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.


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The list of open content projects are partly based on The Institutional Design of Open Source Programming on Firstmondayda:Åbent indhold de:Freie Inhalte es:Contenido abierto fo:Opið innihald fr:Contenu libre ko:오픈컨텐트 it:Open content he:תוכן שיתופי kl:Ammasunik imalik hu:Nyílt tartalom ms:Kandungan terbuka nl:Open content ja:オープンコンテント no:Åpent innhold pl:Wolna dokumentacja pt:Conteúdo aberto simple:Open content sv:Wikipedia:Öppet innehåll zh:内容开放

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