The Digital Public Library of America's Hubs Pilot Program

by | Nov 9, 2012 | 0 comments

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Emily Gore

Emily Gore, DPLA Director for Content, began by providing a brief outline of the background of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The DPLA is our attempt to build a national digital library. Based at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, it is currently in the ground building phase and is funded by the Sloan  Foundation and the Arcadia Fund.  A new Board has been appointed, and the DPLA is moving to a 501(c)(3) corporation.

The major elements of the DPLA are that everything will use free and open source code whenever possible and will be shareable under a Creative Commons CC0 license.  All types of content beginning with public domain content will be incorporated.  Tools and services will be provided for enhanced use of content and its creation.  The DPLA is a participatory effort and a community; we are the DPLA.

“Workstreams” are laying the groundwork for the DPLA.  A content and scope workstream played an active role in planning for the Hubs project, including adoption of the CC metadata, creation of agreements between the DPLA and providers, and other issues.

The Hubs Pilot Project is undertaking the first effort to establish a national network from the more than 40 state or regional digital collaboratives,  numerous large content repositories, and other initiatives.

The approach is to work with the providers (Content Hubs) to aggregate metadata that will be harvested by the DPLA.  Here are the advantages of this approach:

The DPLA wants to be about more than books (which the Hathi Trust is doing well), so a wide variety of content will be acquired.

Seven Service Hubs have been established.  They will offer a full menu of standardized digital services to local institutions, including

Hubs will also establish exhibitions on specific topics.  The initial topics and their Hubs are:

Content Hubs will be determined now that Service Hubs are in place.  Harvard is the first Content Hub; other large cultural heritage organizations will follow, including the Smithsonian and NARA.

The  timeline for the projecct extends for 2 years beginning now.  Until April 2013, metadata and content previews will be prepared for harvest and included in the intial launch of the DPLA.

There will be multiple ways to access the content and the metadata that is being harvesting from the Service and Content Hubs.  Primary ways will be through the DPLA Portal or through the API.  An API is  available now and an AppFest is currently building applications on top of it.

If you are interested in having your metadata discoverable as part of the DPLA, fill out the Inquiries Form on the DPLA Hubs Pilot site.  For  more information, visit the DPLA website, sign up for listservs, or attend workshops.

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Don Hawkins blogs about conferences for Information Today and Against The Grain. He also maintains the Conference Calendar on the Information Today website and is the Editor of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage, published by Information Today in 2013, and Co-Editor of Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits, published by Information Today in 2016. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in the information industry for over 45 years.

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