Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY 4.0

I am an art historian by academic training and I have worked internationally in museums, art collections and archives for twenty years. I am a passionate advocate for open access to cultural heritage and my areas of expertise include managing digital collections, open access strategies, copyright and licensing.

Professional Experience 

Head of Library Learning Centre, Delft University of Technology | 2023 ~

In the iconic Library building on the TU Delft campus, I lead a team working to create the most inspiring and hospitable learning environment you can imagine.

The Library’s vision of an inspiring learning environment with high-quality services is the basis for translating our collections/knowledge to the physical and digital environment. We like to give visitors (students, teachers, researchers) an inclusive role when creating, collecting and sharing knowledge. The LLC is a dynamic physical environment with digital elements in which new developments are embraced. With colleagues, I drive policy and practice that realises this development and innovation.

My team and I work closely with other Library teams, such as Studium Generale, New Media Centre, Academic Heritage and the various research and education-oriented teams, on coherent programming, making library services accessible and activating the collections. Our focus is developing interaction and cooperation with visitors and the further optimisation of services for studying, meeting, relaxing and finding knowledge.

Independent Open Access Scholar | 2016

I research, promote and write about open access to digitised cultural heritage. I am an active member of global open access communities such as Creative Commons, Open GLAM and the Wikimedia Foundation, and I have presented my research at international events such as the GLAM-WIKI Conference, re:publica and Sharing is Caring. 

Since 2018, I have co-led an international survey of open access policy and practice in the GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive, Museum) sector with Dr Andrea Wallace of the University of Exeter. The Open GLAM Survey now lists over 1200 instances of open access practice by institutions, details copyright policy and licensing practice, and provides direct access to over 50 million openly licensed digital objects.

I write about open access, digital collections and related topics on Medium. I am also the co-founder and editor of the Medium publication Open GLAM that shares insights into open access and cultural heritage from a global perspective. 

Collections Engagement Manager, Europeana Foundation | 2016 – 2023

At Europeana I led a team dedicated to engaging audiences with online cultural heritage on the Europeana website, our social media channels and other platforms. Key elements of this work included developing inspiring editorial material (such as online exhibitions, blogs and galleries) and educational resources that make history and culture relevant to contemporary life.

I regularly represented Europeana at public conferences, events and workshops, and wrote extensively for Europeana Pro on open access in the cultural heritage sector. Highlights included interviews with Cleveland Museum of Art, Musée de Bretagne, Agenda Digital de Cultura Mexico, Pinakotheken and Wellcome Collection.

Archivist and Assistant Curator at Niarchos London | 2013 – 2015 

Working in a small team for a private art collection of international renown, my duties included collection cataloguing, curatorial research and database management. I managed the collection’s reference library, led on intellectual property matters and created bespoke auction previews and sales reports. 

Rights & Images Manager at Royal Museums Greenwich | 2005 – 2013 

I managed the museum’s Film Archive, Photographic Studio and Picture Library departments. I oversaw delivery of high-quality photographic services within the museum and to external partners. I coordinated image provision with Exhibitions and Publishing departments, established policies and pricing for image use, and advised the Executive Board and Directors on IP policy and Knowledge Management. 

Picture Researcher at The Picture Desk | 2003 – 2005 

Working for a major cinema and fine art archive, I researched fine art, historical and topographical pictures, managed image licences, negotiated reproduction fees and advised clients on copyright clearance. 

Library Picture Researcher at Mary Evans Picture Library | 2001 – 2003 

In this role I licensed and supplied pictures to global client base; researched and captioned photographs, engravings and prints; created press releases and newsletters sent to clients, industry journals and websites. 

Assistant Project Manager at Park Human Resources | 2000 – 2001 

Assistant Project Manager delivering graduate recruitment for blue chip client. Organised UK-wide interviews and assessment centres; coordinated logistics and supply of test materials for graduate events within a busy small team. 

Professional Associations 

Advisory Board Member, Free Knowledge Africa | 2022 ~

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Digital Media Management | 2014 ~

Board Member, Europeana Art Advisory Board | 2016 – 2018 

Executive Member, Museums IP Network | 2006 – 2013 


CopyrightX, Harvard Law School | 2021

M.A. Honours in Art History (2:1), University of St Andrews | 1993 – 1997

A Levels (Art History, Economics, English), Felsted School | 1991 – 1993

GCSEs (Biology, Chemistry, English Literature, English Language, French, History, Latin, Mathematics, Physics), Felsted School | 1988 – 1991

© Douglas McCarthy, CC BY 4.0 unless otherwise stated