Metadata now available for commercial use

Posted on 10 June 2013 by Fiona

In our latest extension to the DigitalNZ API, we have updated the rights of thousands of metadata* records to allow for commercial use.A treasure trove of over 200,000 records can now be mixed, mashed and mined in anyway you like - be it for commercial, creative or educational purposes. DigitalNZ has millions of records available for reuse, but up until now this has been limited to non-commercial use only.Five leading edge cultural organisations, Victoria University of Wellington Library New Zealand Electronic Text Collection, The University of Auckland Library, Palmerston North City Library, Kete Horowhenua and Manatu Taonga - Ministry for Culture and Heritage have joined us in this pilot. This means that their descriptive metadata can be used in applications for sale in app stores, for inclusion in subscription databases and for use in sites that generate revenue. By updating the metadata rights for this material we hope to see some great examples of commercial use that offers some real value for communities; such as the development of innovative new services or new revenue streams. In doing this we also want to encourage more New Zealand organisations to release their metadata for open use and reuse. We hope many others will follow, and that eventually the majority of data available through DigitalNZ can be used commercially.

If you'd like to use the metadata commercially then our API documentation tells you how you can access the commercial use metadata. Do also check the Commercial Use of Metadata Terms before you kick off.  There are two requirements worth taking note of:

* if you use the metadata you need to display the source of each record. That way you can show the metadata in a meaningful context. This is the same requirement for DigitalNZ's non-commercial use metadata. * you may need to refresh the metadata on request. This is in case there is a request from a 3rd party for metadata to be removed due to infringement or inaccuracy.

If you're a DigitalNZ Content Partner, or you'd like to be one, check out our Metadata Contribution Terms. These outline how DigitalNZ works with your metadata and how you can allow commercial use of your records. We're happy to answer any questions on this. Fire us an email to

We'll post more updates on how this metadata gets used in the near future. Now go get metadata mashing!*Metadata is the useful information that is packaged around a digital item such as the title, thumbnails, dates, and subject headings which make the item easier to find and organise.


Comments have been closed for this post

This is a great development - well done to all at DigitalNZ for getting this out. And it's great to be able to contribute metadata about content from Manatū Taonga and be part of these leading edge cultural organisations. Great work all!

--Matthew Oliver • 2013-06-10 00:00:00 UTC

Does that mean the content wasn't put up under a Creative Commons Non-commercial license in the first place?

--Harley • 2013-06-10 00:00:00 UTC

Hi Harley, Good question! This is about the metadata (descriptive information about digital objects) that content partners share with DigitalNZ and via the DigitalNZ API. It is not about digital content. Our content partners agree to terms of use about how they allow their metadata to be used. We are trying to see if more partners will be keen to make their data available for both non-commercial and commercial use. The Metadata Contribution Terms are here:

--Fiona • 2013-06-10 00:00:00 UTC

We've turned off comments here, but we'd still love to know your thoughts. Visit us on our Facebook Page @digitalnz or on Twitter @DigitalNZ to share any ideas or musings with the DigitalNZ team.