DPLA Part 1: Overview & Metadata

DPLA Part 1: Overview & Metadata


Hello and welcome to this presentation
on the Digital Public Library of America (DP.LA) The mission of DPLA is to bring
together the riches of America’s libraries, archives and museums, and to
make them freely available to the world. In this way DPLA is portal, platform, and
public option. This first video talks about DPLA as a portal. By way of background, in 2010, a group of 40 leaders, including historians, librarians,
foundations, philanthropists, and archivists, all agreed to work together to create
this open distributed network of comprehensive online resources. They
would draw from the nation’s living heritage in museums, libraries and archives, and they did so in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current
and future generations. DPLA portal currently serves as a point of access to
over 33 million items. These items include photographs, manuscripts, ebooks,
audio collections (such as oral histories) moving images, and more from libraries,
archives, and museums around the United States. It’s built through cooperation of
various organizations, formed by service hubs. Agreements with the organizations
with large collections, and with smaller groups, included that DPLA would acquire
the metadata for those institutional collection holdings, and that full
research copies would be made accessible through the organization’s institution.
The original contributors were the first content hubs, and smaller organizations
would combine to form service hubs. The idea was that the content metadata that
the hubs provided to DPLA would allow DPLA to serve as a federated searchable database of the metadata from these
institutions. The institutions or cooperatives would actually host the
digital files. So DPLA would not exist without the collaboration of content hubs and service hubs. These are organizations that aggregate the
metadata from their partners (libraries, museums, archives, cultural heritage
institutions, etc). Through the hub network DPLA is realizing the vision of a national digital library, connecting shared history with a diverse engaged
public. DPLA content hubs are large digital libraries, museums, archives or repositories, that maintain a one-to-one relationship with DPLA. Content hubs, as a
general rule, provide more than 150,000 unique records for digitized
materials from their institutions. They may include online text, photographs,
manuscripts, artwork, etc. DPLA service hubs are state or regional digital libraries
that aggregate information about digital objects from libraries, archives, museums
and institutions at a given state or region. Each service hub offers its state
or regional partners a full menu of standardized digital services, including
digitization metadata assistance and training, data aggregation and storage
services, as well as locally hosted community outreach programs, bringing
users in contact with digital content of local relevance. To help visualize the
service hub relationship, one can imagine the local Historical Society or Public
Library (in the example here Queens Public Library) as a pond, containing in
it unique valuable cultural content. These ponds send their content through
the tributaries to the lakes –DPLA service hubs (here the Empire State
Digital Network). ESDN aggregates data from various
cultural heritage institutions across the state or region. The service hubs
then feed this content through the rivers to the ocean which is DPLA. You
can view a complete list of all the DPLA service hubs at pro.DPLA/hubs.
The hubs model ensures that institutions of any size would be able to ultimately
participate and the DPLA through service hubs; and, to that end, it would be ideal
to have these service hubs in every state or region. As you can see from the
map, there are some hubs that are still in development: those are the states in
blue, and the gray states do not yet have a hub. The hub plan keeps DPLA
nimble, and allows DPLA to serve as a federated, searchable database of
metadata from all of these institutions; and redirect users to multiple host
institutions. As workflows and technologies have improved the ability
to ingest metadata has increased. So, when DPLA launched in April of 2013, it launched with six million items from those content hubs that had large extent
digital collections. Within four years (April 2017) the number of items more than
doubled to 15 million items from 33 partner organizations. And once again
less than two years later (as of March 2019) it more than doubled again to reach
33 million items from 41 partner institutions. So DPLA wants to make
cultural and scientific records available free of charge to all through their
databases of metadata. For this purpose, For this purpose, they’ve taken on the task of ingesting,
indexing, enriching and making that descriptive metadata available, to as
wide a variety of users as possible. For more information, you can visit the
hub’s metadata application profile. but it helps to keep in mind that as you’re
searching through DPLA, the interface is really searching through the metadata
that has been contributed by 41 different organizations, some very
large and some very small; this can mean that the depth and granularity of the
metadata will also vary across institutions, and we’ll be seeing more of
that in the “searching” DPLA video

Daniel Ostrander

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