Introduction to the Open Clip Art Library

Presentation by Jon Phillips,
Graduate Researcher, University of California, San Diego
Center for Research in Computing and the Arts

The Open Clip Art Library ( is an on-line public domain SVG graphics repository, an interface to this growing collection and a supportive community—artists of varying skill-levels, and content-managers, or "librarians." The project was birthed out of development on the open source SVG drawing tools Inkscape, SodiPodi, and the open desktop publishing application, Scribus. Originally conceived to support the Open Source communities' graphics needs, the Library's "open content" is available for all uses via the web.

The Open Source movement has excelled at production of software, and while there have been some astounding examples of Open Source philosophies applied to production of content, such as Wikipedia and Groklaw, there hasn't been an equivalent for open media content. The Open Clip Art Library establishes an Open Source development model for managing a scalable vector graphics library accessible from the web. It is hoped that its success may engender similar efforts geared for other kinds of media such as video, photos, or animation.

There are similar projects that deal with open graphics content like KDE's Klipart, Deviant Art's images and PDphoto's collections of user-submitted photos. The Open Clip Art Library is a combination of the best elements from these projects, such as user submissions, Open Source ideals, and widely publicized submissions. The true novelty however is the interoperability of the library with the W3C SVG 1.1 standard and the use of industry standard "Creative Commons Meta-data," which is essentially RDF/XML + Dublin Core + Creative Commons Meta-data.

This introduction and overview examines the goals of the Open Clip Art Library with diverse SVG clip art submissions from the community sprinkled as the backdrop for the production. The talk consists of a dissection of the web-based public interface, an overview of the issues regarding filtering of submitted SVG files, a look at how meta-data is being used to maximize the repositories effectiveness, a demo of the on-the-fly bitmap exporters, and how the Creative Commons Public Domain Declaration is used. In closing, the roadmap of future features, including implementation of web-services and development of software clients to the graphics server will be discussed. The Open Clip Art Library provides a service for all levels of graphics users with low social and technical barriers to encourage maximum submissions in order to gather a diverse collection of vector graphics—put your graphics into circulation today at

The Open Clip Art Library is hosted by and is affiliated with the Open Source projects Inkscape (, a cross-platform SVG drawing tool, Sodipodi (, Scribus (, a desktop publishing tool,, and the Creative Commons (