The best starting point for discussing the question of OPEN ACCESS to Heritage Collections is ECHO
The ECHO initiative has been motivated by the observation that, at present, information relevant to cultural heritage still plays only a marginal role in the Internet: the number one medium for current and future scientific work, communication and general archiving.
The basic idea of the ECHO-initiative therefore is to establish an open-source culture of the public and scholarly exploitation of cultural heritage on the Internet. This idea comprises the promotion of content-driven technology in information management.
The aim is to create an Agora, a community of producers and users of culturally relevant information, who are willing to freely exchange this in order to build a joint portal and a common infrastructure.
Several digitized collections are online on the mentioned website!