Using an open-access distribution model, the Crystallography Open Database (COD, http://www.crystallography.net) collects all known 'small molecule / small to medium sized unit cell' crystal structures and makes them available freely on the Internet. As of today, the COD has aggregated ~150,000 structures, offering basic search capabilities and the possibility to download the whole database, or parts thereof using a variety of standard open communication protocols. A newly developed website provides capabilities for all registered users to deposit published and so far unpublished structures as personal communications or pre-publication depositions. Such a setup enables extension of the COD database by many users simultaneously. This increases the possibilities for growth of the COD database, and is the first step towards establishing a world wide Internet-based collaborative platform dedicated to the collection and curation of structural knowledge.