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View the key events of the Public Domain Project:



Establishment of the Public Domain Project


The Public Domain Radio starts his broadcasting



The MediaWiki of the Public Domain Project goes online


The Public Domain Project is among the winners of the first competition of ideas of Wikimedia Deutschland



OutOfCopyright.eu makes Public Domain Calculators available for the entire European Union

"Works that have fallen into the public domain after their term of copyright protection has elapsed can be reely used by everybody. In theory that means that these works can be reused by anyone for any purpose which includes commercial exploitation.


In practice however determining if a work has passed into the public domain can prove very difficult. This is especially true when attempting to determine the public domain status of content in multiple jurisdictions. As part of the EuropeanaConnect project Knowledgeland and the Institute for information Law at the University of Amsterdam have developed public domain calculators to answer the question whether a certain work or other subject matter vested with copyright or neighbouring rights (related rights) has fallen into the public domain. These public domain Calculators have been developed for 30 countries (the European Union plus Switzerland, Iceland & Norway) and are available at www.outofcopyright.eu

Users can use the calculators (and the underlying research published at outofcopyright.eu) to determine the copyright status of works in all these countries. This is the first time that this question has been structurally researched across all European jurisdictions.


We encourage everyone interested in the public domain to try the calculators, comment on them and re-use the published research. All research and other material on Outofcopyright is available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license and the software powering the calculators can be reused under the terms of the EUPL license

The Public Domain Project is very happy about this anouncement and would like to thank everyone who was involved creating it!


At the 28. September 2011 it finaly arrived: Our ELP Laser turntable mades it way to us after a long 25 week waiting time. The Laser turntable is provided to us by the Wikimedia Germany. We will make a "unboxing-video" in a few days for the Wikimedia Blog and to show you our new workhorse.


First digitized gramophone record available
The mission to digitalize our gramophone records starts on October 26th, 2011 with a first flac file. The PD project is proud to present the first test record Purcell: A Trumpet Voluntary in 96-kHz/16-bit. This file is produced without a declicker/decrackler-software. We are still in testing phase, but stay in patience.



The ITZ of the Zurich University of the Arts offers the server housing and sponsors bandwidth and rackspace


First cylinder recordings are entered into the database.


Martin Osterwalder donates 35,000 gramophone records (phonograph records)


First speech at a Wikimedia conference (WikiCon 2012 in Dornbirn, Austria)


Establishment of the Swiss Foundation Public Domain



The supervision of the foundation is now up to the Federal Department of Home Affairs


The Swiss Foundation Public Domain is now officially a charitable organization (tax exempt) in Switzerland


We attend at the Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong. The result is a partnership with a digitization project in Uruguay



The Public Domain project is actively supported by Wikimedia CH in 2014


Integration of the digitization project in the CD recording of the SOS-ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich)


Dominio Público Sonoro Uruguay becomes the official representative of the Public Domain Project in South America


Start of the digitization of the Martin Osterwalder collection. WMCH financed an employee with Asperger syndrome and the SOS-ETH is sponsoring a space for the recording studio


We attend at the Wikimania 2014 in London. Wikimedia Deutschland gives us a literary grant for the procurement of much needed reference books (Copyright investigation)


We attend the WikiCon 2014 in Cologne. Wikimedia CH assumes the cost for another employee with Asperger syndrome. The record cleaning machine is now ready for use. We find a pleasure in the Wiki of Music (WoM) and discuss about a closer cooperation


We are guests in the radio show Hackerfunk of Radio Radius and Christian Mäder published his blog about the Public Domain Project.



We are a data provider for the first Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon in the Swiss National Library in Berne.


We attend the GLAM-WIKI-2015 conference in Den Haag. We can make good new contacts from London to Malawi.


Co-Founding the Wikimedia Digitization User Group, a Wikimedia User Group for digitization projects. It includes projects and interested people from Argentina, Finnland, Mexico, Uruguay and Switzerland.


We are part of the conference Sharing is Caring: Right to Remix? and the 2015 edition of HACK4DK in Kopenhagen. HACK4DK is an annual hackathon on cultural heritage, organized by major heritage institutions in Denmark.


11. January

We've got the first time user statistics from Wikimedia Commons for the month of october 2015.

We are very happy that all our audio files we provide on Wikimedia Commons were downloaded 40 000 times in that month! We hoped that people are interested in the results of our work but to have the numbers on the table that quite a lot of people are interested in it is a great compliment for us. This usage statistic is therefore a great boost in motivation to continue our work.

8./10. April

At the Linux Audio Conference 2016 in Berlin (DE) nuess0r has held a presentation about the usage of Free and Open Source Software für digital long time archives. The Linux Audio Conference is a annual event of the Linuxaudio Community.

Video recording (Download und streaming), Presentation slides

Ganzen Vortrag auf YouTube ansehen:

24. bis 26. June

Wikimania Esino Lario 2016 (logo for the bid).jpg

Again we attended the Wikimania conference, this year in a mountain villige in norh Italy.

In a very cosy and relaxed atmosphere discussions about many topics were held and we could make new interesting contacts in the Wikimedia movement. It could be clearly seen from the conference program and the attendees in different events that the work with GLAMs gets more important. For different reasons and on eye level. We from the public domain project are also happy about that the Wikimedia Foundation installed a GLAM Coordinator to support the work in this areas.

The program can be found here. All presentations have links to the video recordings:
Wikimania 2016 Programm

16. August

The Public Domain Project was the first time the subject of a research paper.

At the Bern University of Applied Sciences a student was working on the topic of digital long time preservation of audio works in general and developing a concept how this concepts could be applied to the Public Domain Project.

As a by product an audit was undertaken to determine the current status of the Public Domain Project and its long time preservation strategies.

24. September

We have moved!

Our office for the digitization work in Switzerland has been moved. It is now located at the Sonnegstrasse 27 in Zürich. Just the beautiful view over Zürich from the lake over the main station to Schlieren is worth a visit in our office.

Here some up to date pictures:

Our office for digitization work
Digitizing station for audio with ELP laser turntable and conventional turntalbe
Keith Monks Archivist Duo MK IX (a closer view)
Reproduction table to take pictures of the labels in the center of the records using a Nikon D600


28. January

On the basis of the research paper published in August 2016 a master thesis was done at the Bern University of Applied Sciences.

This excerpt from the summary should give an idea of the covered topics:
In the course of this master thesis a data model was developed to represent the metadata as Open Linked Data. Also a trustworthy archival storage according to OAIS was evaluated and first migration steps were undertaken.

Following the semantic web (Web 3.0) standards the metadata (title, creator, publication date, images etc.) is modeled as triples (subject, predicate, object) using the ontologies Dublin Core, Schema.org, Music Ontology, Creative Commons and Logistics Core. The new data model is accessible via a web API that delivers RDF/XML or turtle. This fosters the reuse of this metadata on other websites and projects, which thereby increases the overall value of the metadata and the work of the Public Domain Project itself.

This model is implemented as a set of new templates and forms using Semantic MediaWiki (SMW). SMW allows the value of a data field to be shown on other wiki pages with a semantic query. A data field may have data validation or can have only a limited set of values. These features simplify data entry and reduce errors significantly.

A trustworthy storage system for the digitized audio files must fulfill digital preservation requirements defined by the OAIS model. A new system structure was evaluated and a migration strategy was defined. As a first step the operating system of the file server was replaced by Gentoo GNU/Linux because it stores the source code of every installed software. The source code together with file format specifications etc. is called representation information and which needs to be preserved together with the audio files to guarantee the understandability of the bits on the storage media.

The whole work is freely available and published under the CC By license:


16. June

Nuess0r has held a presentation for the introduction into trustworthy digital preservation.

In this presentation the established basics and models of the trustworthy digital preservation are presented as they are used on a daily basis by archives and in records management.

This knowledge is also useful for non professionals to be able to use the own data (private or corporate) after several years.


  1. What is a long time archive
  2. Preservation pyramide
  3. History of digital preservation standards
  4. The OAIS model
  5. Important terms and definitions
  6. What does all that mean in practical terms?
  7. Common practices to overcome the technological change
  8. Open*, why wie need open source software/hardware/standards/everything

Presentation slides with a lot of additional comments

Video recording in German

19. Oktober

During the DINAcon 2018, the conference on digital sustainability, the Public Domain Projekt received the Open Knowledge/Open Data Award.

This award is presented by CH Open and until 2016 it had the name CH Open Source Awards. CH Open is the association to promote open source and open standards in Switzerland.

Pressrelease DINAcon Awards

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