On March 21st, Digital Commonwealth was co-awarded the New England Archivist’s Archival Advocacy Award along with BPL’s Digital Services. The award was presented on Saturday morning at the NEA business meeting (part of the Spring NEA meeting).

NEA’s former president Alyssa Pacy presented the award and highlighted the work BPL’s Digital Services staff members have been doing to help institutions share content in Digital Commonwealth. Alyssa acknowledged the important work BPL’s digital services staff had been able to for cultural organizations because of federal funding (the initial grant funding), and ongoing state funding.  Amy Ryan thanked the New England Archivists for the award and said she was honored to accept on behalf of the BPL but wanted Tom Blake to say a few words because of all he has done with the work that was being recognized. Tom acknowledged that the BPL’s plan to assist others with digitization tasks when the BPL has over a million items to digitize is ambitious but he feels like it is important and he appreciated the fact that Amy Ryan has been so supportive of the efforts.  He acknowledged the work of all in his department and the receptiveness of the organizations they have assisted.  He thanked everyone from the NEA/MARAC meeting who had volunteered to help with geo-coding at the BPL on Thursday (3/19); this was the “Day of Service” activity offered in conjunction with the conference.

Nancy Heywood accepted the award on behalf of Digital Commonwealth.  Nancy complimented the BPL’s developers for their excellent work on the website and also the excellent work of Tom Blake’s department.  She also had the opportunity to mention that Digital Commonwealth’s partnership with the BPL (in which the BPL takes the lead on the repository and portal) is allowing Digital Commonwealth the non-profit organization to think about programming/events/training sessions that will help the people involved with digitization efforts become knowledgeable about relevant issues. Nancy also thanked everyone who worked at institutions who have contributed content to the Digital Commonwealth website.

Early bird registration ends on March 23rd, so make sure you sign up today for the annual 9th Digital Commonwealth Conference. The Conference “Cloud Bursts and Brain Storms,”  will be held on April 2nd at the Hogan Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. In addition to the two keynote speakers, Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information, and Dan Cohen, executive director of the DPLA, the conference will also feature many interesting breakout sessions. Some breakout sessions include Packaging Collections for Public Consumption with Sara Slymon and Elizabeth Thomsen, Copyright Issues and Libraries with Emily Kilcer and Kyle Courtney, The Policy Cycle with Diane Brenner and Ed Lewis, and our ever popular Rapid First Inspiring Projects. We hope we’ll see you  there!

To keep everyone up to date on just what collections are in the Digital Commonwealth portal, we’re starting this series of monthly blog posts. At the beginning of each month, we’ll tell you what collections were added or had materials added to them in the previous month.

In February, the following collection were added to the Digital Commonwealth:

Robbins Library

Arlington Historical Maps including Menotomy and the Old Burying Ground : 5 items

Arlington Historical Photograph Collection, c. 1885 – 1992 : 1,238 items

Arlington Historical Postcard Collection, c. 1907 – 1981 : 267 items

Arthur M. Dallin Stained Glass Studies, c. 1932 – 1939 : 2 items

Boston Public Library

Boston Wharf Company Collection : 197 items

Lane/Mead Boston Maritime Collection : 56 items

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Collection : 5,011 items

Old Boston Photograph Collection : 114 items

Trustees’ Library collection : 404 items

First Parish in Brookline

First Parish in Brookline Artifacts Collection : 1 item

Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club/Loring-Greenough House

Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club Records : 31 items

Marstons Mills Historical Society

Marstons Mills Historical Society Photograph Collection : 206 items

Mount Wachusett Community College

Mount Wachusett Community College Collection : 19 item

New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Bedford Whaling Museum Nautical Charts : 10 items

Guest post by Jeff Klapes, Head of Reference Services, Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Massachusetts

Beebe Library in Wakefield is a busy, medium-sized library serving a population of 25,000. We have a variety of historical collections, including photographs, postcards, maps, local government documents, and more. Boston Public Library has been invaluable in helping us digitize these materials for better access and preservation, scanning our maps, annual town reports, school yearbooks, and local history monographs for the Internet Archive. However, we’ve also worked on a number of other projects that we could manage ourselves. Two of these collections in particular are worth noting.
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MapVisitors to the Digital Commonwealth site can now browse the ever-growing collection using a number of different map views. These maps show the locations of cities and other landmarks depicted or described within items in the collection. By clicking on a marker on the map, visitors can search for all items from a specific location. Visitors can also use the map’s search button to find all items from within a particular geographic area displayed in the map window. This new feature offers a powerful and exciting way to explore the collections, and provides vivid evidence of the global scope and relevancy of the collections contributed by Massachusetts cultural institutions.
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We’re very excited to present our newest promotion effort: Bookmarks!
We have two styles of bookmark designed to raise awareness about our wonderfully rich online resources. The Digital Commonwealth exists to advance the dissemination of collections from Massachusetts to a wider audience through shared resources and a single website. These bookmarks are a fun way to let libraries and other cultural institutions raise awareness about this resource with users.

Bookmark Design 1
Bookmark Design 1, front and back
Bookmark Design 2
Bookmark Design 2, front and back

If you’d like to share these with your users, we will send you stacks of bookmarks in either or both of the two designs. Please contact the Outreach Committee at outreach@digitalcommonwealth.org  with your preferences.

Join us at the Hogan Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester on Thursday, April 2, 2015 for the 9th annual Digital Commonwealth Conference. This year’s featured morning keynote speaker is Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information. The lunchtime keynote speaker is Dan Cohen, executive director of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

“Cloud Bursts and Brainstorms” is our theme, and Breakout sessions are planned on topics ranging from social media to copyright to digital preservation to crafting policies to online exhibits, with more to be announced. Join with your colleagues from across the state in sharing projects, successes, failures, and lessons learned.

Early bird registration opens soon. Member early bird registration is $100; non-member registration is $130. For more information, visit the Digital Commonwealth Conference website

DPLA (The Digital Public Library of America) has just released its Strategic Plan for 2015-2017.  This is significant to us because the Digital Commonwealth in partnership with BPL is a service hub for DPLA.

The DPLA plan is organized into four major initiatives:

  • Complete the hub network so all collections and item types have an on ramp to DPLA
  • Build out the technology platform to be flexible and extensible providing for further growth and diversification
  • Pursue a global outreach program
  • Achieve sustainability through diversification of revenue sources by the end of 2017

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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday sometimes known as the Festival of Lights. It’s an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. This year, Hanukkah is observed from sunset December 16th to nightfall December 24th.

The Digital Commonwealth includes photographs of a Brookline family celebrating Hanukkah in 1971 taken by photographer Spencer Grant and included in the Spencer Grant Collection of the Boston Public Library.

Lensen family lights Hanukkah candles
Lensen family lights Hanukkah candles
Jewish boys light Hanukkah candles
Jewish boys light Hanukkah candles
Lensen family eats Hanukkah dinner, Brookline
Lensen family eats Hanukkah dinner
Jewish boys play with dreidel, Brookline
Jewish boys play with dreidel

skating2

On December 9, 1884, Levant M. Richardson was issued a patent for the use of steel ball bearings in skate wheels, reducing friction and increasing speed, ushering in the modern age of roller skating. This photograph by Leslie Jones shows three children roller skating on Boston Common circa 1939.