Digital Commonwealth board members Kim Cochrane and Deb Dejonker-Berry teamed up to present “Connect to the Community: Using Digital Commonwealth Collections to Develop Lesson Plans” at the MSLA conference on March 10, 2014 in Hyannis, Massachusetts:   http://maschoolibraries.org/content/view/1195/791/

The Massachusetts School Library Association annual conference is attended by school librarians and educators, and also graduate students in these fields.  Deb Dejonker-Berry, Director of the Eastham Public Library, gave an overview to Digital Commonwealth.  Kim Cochrane, Curriculum Librarian and Coordinator of Curriculum and Instructional Technology at Framingham State University, spoke about how school librarians and educators can use the online content available from Digital Commonwealth’s portal and repository, as well as some other websites, within the classroom.  Kim used some of the existing lesson plans developed with Digital Commonwealth’s content as examples: http://members.digitalcommonwealth.org/lesson-plans

Kim and Deb noticed that the session generated many positive responses!  Many attendees stated that they planned to use Digital Commonwealth’s website. Also some indicated they would explore opportunities to interact with their local cultural organizations that either are, or could be, Digital Commonwealth members and encourage these organizations to make digital content available via the new repository.

The 2014 Annual Conference is approaching!
April 8 at the Hogan Center, Holy Cross, Worcester.

Registration begins at 8:00 am and sessions will run from 9:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Breakout sessions include:

  • Introduction to the Digital Commonwealth
  • New and Improved Digital Commonwealth System
  • Digital Preservation
  • Conservation and Digitization
  • Fundraising and Grant Writing
  • Digital Public Library of America
  • Online Exhibits
  • Audience Engagement and Crowdsourcing
  • Lightning Round Presentations

 

Congratulations to the Digital Commonwealth Movers & Shakers of 2014 just announced by Library Journal (http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/03/people/movers-shakers-2014/movers-shakers-2014). Featured in the new selection of stellar talent are two local librarians who have had a long and significant involvement with Digital Commonwealth: current board member Tom Blake as well as retired board member and past president Kristi Chadwick.

Tom is recognized for his leadership in pursuing a partnership between the BPL and Digital Commonwealth that was part of an organizing effort to attain a LSTA digitization grant in 2011. The successful grant  was funded for $200,000 for a two-year project to digitize historical materials for members of the Digital Commonwealth. As the entry about Tom explains, “So far, Blake and his team have digitized more than 75,000 objects from 100 institutions, and the DC has grown to 200 members, from large academic libraries to small independent museums. The collections, now in beta, will soon be available via the DC portal and repository system.”

Tom is also credited for helping establish the strong relationship that has transpired between the BPL, the Digital Commonwealth, and the Digital Public Library of America who chose Digital Commonwealth as one of its initial service hubs.  For more about that experience, check out Tom’s recent blog post: Life as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America.

And if that were not honor enough, Kristi Chadwick is also included in this year’s selection. Kristi is awarded for her work as the Director of the Emily Williston Memorial Library & Museum in Easthampton where she achieved tremendous strides in increased staff appreciation and public support for the library in the short amount of time she has worked there.

Certainly many remember Kristi for her long association with Digital Commonwealth  that included several years serving on the board of directors and a year as president in 2011 and 2012.

Our appreciation goes out to these two for all they have done for librarianship in Massachusetts and particularly for the efforts they have committed to the success of Digital Commonwealth. A well-deserved thank you and congratulations!

Registration is now open for “Practically Digital: Doing What it Takes”, to be held on Tuesday, April 8th, at the Hogan Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

The conference will feature keynote sessions by Melissa Levine, the Lead Copyright Officer from the University of Michigan Library, and Liz Bishoff, of the Bishoff Group.

Breakout sessions topics include:

  • audience engagement and crowdsourcing
  • conservation and digitization
  • digital preservation
  • online exhibits
  • lightning round presentations from Digital Commonwealth members

In addition, staff from the Boston Public Library will be on hand to provide metadata consultations throughout the day.

For additional information and to register, visit the conference website: http://members.digitalcommonwealth.org/events?eventId=856673&EventViewMode=EventDetails

(Anne Reed is the Assistant Director for Administration at the Brookline Public Library)

The Public Library of Brookline has worked with the Digital Commonwealth since 2007 when Anne Clark uploaded 10 historical photographs into the repository, and provided feedback on the data entry and batch uploading process. From this beginning, Anne Clark and I selected the historic Brookline photographs to be digitized by a local company, Boston Photo Imaging, and with funding from our Board of Library Trustees we were ready to proceed. Anne Clark, Colin Wilkins and I provided the metadata for the photographs; once this task was completed everything was uploaded to the Digital Commonwealth repository. Pleased with the results we proposed a second project digitizing our glass plate negatives. Boston Photo Imaging scanned the negatives and saved the images to an external hard drive. We followed the same procedures as in the first project and these 101 images are now available in the Digital Commonwealth repository.

At the Digital Commonwealth Annual Conferences March 25, 2010 Anne Clark & I presented a session “Bringing the Past to the Future: The Digitization of the Historic Photograph Collection of the Public Library of Brookline”. We also shared our experiences at the April 26, 2011 Digital Commonwealth conference in the session, “From Your Archive to the Web: Managing the Project”. We encouraged libraries to ask questions, consult the experts and ad their collections to Digital Commonwealth.

Brookline Paint Shop
Brookline Paint Shop

We applied for digitization services from the Boston Public Library to have digital images created of our identified and numbered manuscript collections. The BPL’s Library for the Commonwealth program enables BPL staff to provide free digitization services to Digital Commonwealth members who want to make their collections available in the repository.

Our materials are now at the BPL being digitized by their state-of-the-art equipment.  Soon our Brookline High School yearbooks will also be available through the Internet Archives. Once our materials are returned we will begin the metadata entry. We are very fortunate to have the resources and expert staff of the Boston Public Library working to help to libraries and historical societies in the Commonwealth share digital collections.

The Public Library of Brookline’s collections may be seen in the current Digital Commonwealth repository  http://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/items/browse?collection=112  OR in the preview version of the upcoming new repository: https://search.digitalcommonwealth.org/collections/commonwealth:5425kb612 

Read more about the BPL’s digitization services for Digital Commonwealth members in this blog post:   http://digitalcommonwealth.org/blog/?p=113.

Over the past few months, the development work on the new Digital Commonwealth repository at the Boston Public Library has focused on functionality for ingesting metadata records via the Open Access Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). This functionality enables Digital Commonwealth to include metadata created by institutions around the state in the central search interface, with links that point back to the original item hosted by the provider. (Digital Commonwealth currently harvests records from ten institutions and consortia, including the State Library of Massachusetts, NOBLE, SAILS, and C/W MARS to name a few.)

BPL development staff have been working closely with each OAI provider to tailor the ingest process to their preferred metadata format (Dublin Core, PBcore, MODS, etc.) as well as the system used by each institution to provide the records (CONTENTdm, Omeka, etc.) The crosswalking process, which converts the incoming metadata records into MODS, also involves a number of data standardization routines, including the transformation of date data into a facet-able and sortable date format based on W3C Date-Time Format, and the conversion of geographic subject/coverage data into hierarchical geographic subjects (state, county, city, etc.) and numeric latitude/longitude coordinates using data from the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names. Whenever possible, the ingest process also generates thumbnail images for each object which are then stored in the Digital Commonwealth repository, along with an archival copy of the original metadata record prior to crosswalking.

While all of this involves significant time and effort, the result will be more accurate and more complete metadata records from these providers, and a better search and discovery experience for users as well as better representation of the data within larger shared contexts such as DPLA.

So far the OAI harvesting has been restricted to a test platform. By late February the BPL expects to finish the work on the OAI feeds at which point the feeds will be added to the public repository site (https://search.digitalcommonwealth.org). The focus will then turn to migrating the last few remaining collections from the DSpace repository into the new repository, and integrating the informational content on the current Omeka site into the new design. While no official date has been set for when the new repository will replace the existing systems and be launched as the “official” Digital Commonwealth site, it is anticipated that this milestone will be completed sometime in March.

This is the second part of the Lee Library blog posts that examine their recent digitization projects. Part I is available here: http://digitalcommonwealth.org/blog/?p=125

This month, we are following up with Lee Library Association Trustee Mary Philpott. Mary has had access to the forthcoming new Digital Commonwealth Repository’s Administrative pages to help test the new repository and work with BPL staff to learn how to enter metadata. (The new Digital Commonwealth web-site will be available to the general public in early 2014.)

Figure 1. View of a draft record summary in new repository. The edit link is above the image

In entering metadata, Mary and her volunteers will be working from inventory sheets that were created decades ago.   These sheets have descriptions, subjects and provenance information.  Lee has only one copy of these sheets for each image, so having the metadata entered solves access and preservation goals for the Lee Library.  All levels of metadata, from descriptive to administrative, can be entered using the repositories new templates: Mary can not only enter descriptions, but who provided the information, as well as their relationship to the images, thus establishing the authority behind the descriptions themselves.   Tom Blake (Digital Projects Manager, BPL) and Danny Pucci (Lead Digital Projects Librarian, BPL) reviewed the inventory sheets with Mary and offered guidance as to how to transpose the printed metadata onto the templates on the Digital Commonwealth’s new repository.

After the review with Tom and Danny and actual practice with adding image files and metadata on the test repository, Mary was able to compare the pros and cons in the workflow using Excel spreadsheets vs. the templates from the new repository.  Working on the new repository is “much easier than using excel.  The new data entry form is clear and easier to use. You can see [your work] in a format that will be viewable to everyone.  Once you enter a description, the system remembers it when you enter new records, so, for example, entering the size of an image becomes easier as the system offers choices of the various sizes previously entered.”

“Not being a librarian, I am not used to the formatting rules.  Eben English was helpful explaining the types of data and format that belongs in the various data entry boxes.” Eben sent Mary a sample record of the Boston Red Sox image.  Mary compared that to a Fire Department photo she was working on and went on to enter another half dozen test records.

Figure 2. Partial view of record template in new repository. Note the drop down boxes and help features

After having the experience of entering the metadata live and seeing the immediate results, “I now understand why the formatting rules are so important in researching the material.  Entering the metadata in the templates is slow for the first few records but once you have a sense of the choices from the drop down boxes, a pattern develops.   It will be faster now that I have become familiar with the templates.  I will be able to show other board members, staff and volunteers how to enter our descriptions.  I am pretty exited about using the software.  I want to see our collection online and want this project to be finished so we have something to show people and be able to share all this information.   It will also help to get additional information from people who know and are familiar with the images.”

Mary explained that judgment calls will need to be made for each of Lee’s collections along the way.  Once all the metadata for these images is complete, Mary is looking forward to working with Lee’s scrapbooks, letters and business ledgers.  The business ledgers, for example, can paint fascinating glimpses into Lee’s history, such as the ledgers of a present-day restaurant/inn that was once a stagecoach stop in Lee and the names of guests are recorded as well as ads from local businesses.

Mary has had time to think a lot about the realization of her dream to see Lee’s history come alive online.  The new repository “has to be one that people can use-not just librarians.”  It’s important for people who know a particular community to be able to help with metadata entry, giving a more complete sense of the unique history of the town.  The volunteers as well as the staff have a vested interest in the town and they want to share that history with the younger populations.  The new repository has made that possible.

The collaboration between the professional librarians at the BPL and volunteers like the ones Mary will be working with provides the best of both worlds.  The professionals offer guidance and training allowing the local historians the opportunity to produce new digital content that will highlight the “distinct personalities” of each community. “Now, we are at the next step, a very concrete step.”

All the latest news from the Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

Digital Commonwealth logo


Updates for October/November, 2013

             New Officers and Bylaws Ratified

The votes are in! The new Board of Directors members are official and the Bylaw changes ratified. With that step out of the way, Digital Commonwealth can now officially apply for non-profit status. 

A list of current board members is available on the DC Omeka web site:  http://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/board

The vote completion also means that, in accordance with the new bylaw changes,  Ex-officio members on the board have the right to vote on board decisions. Besides the BPL, currently represented by Tom Blake, this change also effects representation by the Mass Board of Library Commissioners (represented by Gregor Trinkaus-Randall), Mass School Library Association (represented by Kim Cochrane),  and the Mass Library System (represented by Greg Pronevitz).

Digital Commonwealth owes a great deal of gratitude to each of these members and the institutions they represent for all of the work, support, and advice they have provided for many years. It is certainly fitting and long overdue that they be allowed the privilege of full participation with their vote on future board decisions. 

An updated posting of the revised bylaws is available @  http://digitalcommonwealth.org/bylaws
and in PDF download @  
http://digitalcommonwealth.org/docs/DCofMA-Bylaws-Revision-FINAL-2013-8-1.pdf

 

Digital Commonwealth changes its mailing address

Digital Commonwealth has finally established a permanent mailing address. We Promise!! Please direct all future correspondence to the following:
                         Digital Commonwealth, Inc.
                         321 Walnut Street
                         Newton, MA  02460

 The BPL Receives Award for Digitization Work 

The Boston Public Library received the Commonwealth Award for its digitization work for Digital Commonwealth members at last month’s Griffin Museum of Photography’s eighth annual Focus Awards ceremony. For a complete report view this blog post:  http://digitalcommonwealth.org/blog/?p=172

  The BPL Expands its Collections in the new Digital Commonwealth Repository 

The new Digital Commonwealth repository under development at the Boston Public Library is continuously expanding its collection holdings. Two recent additions are large photographic collections: Arthur Griffith Photographs from the Griffith Museum of Photography and the Lesslie Jones Collection from the BPL.

Besides over 36,000 Leslie Jones photographs documenting the history of the greater Boston area from the 1920s to 1950s, the BPL has been busy adding other parts of its extensive collections to the new Digital Commonwealth repository that have not previously been included, such as a collection of 64 Circus Posters, 351 vintage Travel Posters from the 1920s-1940s, 180 sports photographs from the Michael T. “Nuf Ced” McGreevey Collection, and 101 Robert McClosky sketches from Make Way for Ducklings.

These are just a few examples of the growing abundance of state-wide collections represented in the new Digital Commonwealth repository that the BPL is hosting and continuously developing and improving. Check out the full list of collections now represented: https://search.digitalcommonwealth.org/collections.

By early next year we expect that all of Digital Commonwealth will be included in the new repository at the BPL, and the current Omeka and DSpace sites will at that time be discontinued.

DPLAfest at BPL

Last month Northeastern, Simmons, and the BPL hosted the first annual DPLAfest at the BPL in honor of the successful launch in April 2013 of the new Digital Public Library of America website. For a personal account of the event, please view this blog post by guest reporter Molly Stothert-Maurer:  http://digitalcommonwealth.org/blog/?p=167

     DPLA Launches the DPLA Bookshelf

At its DPLAfest in Boston, the Digital Public Library of America introduced the DPLA Bookshelf, a browsable collection of a million online books. For a full report, view this DPLA blog post:  http://dp.la/info/2013/10/24/bookshelf-announcement/

      DPLA Announces Million-Dollar Grant

The Digital Public Library of America announced that it has received $990,195 grant the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to train public librarians in Digital Technologies. For a full report, view this DPLA blog post:  http://dp.la/info/2013/10/24/gates-announcement/

Sincerely, Digital Commonwealth
Copyright © 2013 Digital Commonwealth. All rights reserved.
Contact email: digitalcommonwealth@gmail.com