The first in a series of free Introductory Workshops around the state

May 27, 2015 from 10-12 at Jonathan Bourne Library, Bourne, MA

If your institution is looking for a presence in the digital world but you aren’t sure where to start, then this seminar is for you.  Join representatives from the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth Board in this practical 2-hour seminar that will answer:

  • What is Digital Commonwealth?
  • How does one apply for free digitization?
  • What free services does the Boston Public Library offer?
  • What kind of commitment does an institution have to make to get involved?
  • What are benefits of membership in Digital Commonwealth?

Registration is free to libraries and cultural institutions across the state of Massachusetts.

Register at: http://digitalcommonwealth.memberlodge.org/events

Presenters:  Digital Commonwealth & Boston Public Library Digitization Team

If you can’t make this one, consider these:

  • July 7 2015 – Joshua Hyde Library in Sturbridge (tentative)
  • August 20, 2015 – Lucius Beebe Library in Wakefield
  • Sept. 22, 2015 – MLS Whately Office 10-12

Hope to see you there!

Elizabeth Cousins

Co-Chair, Digital Commonwealth Outreach Committee

A lot of new collections have been added to the Digital Commonwealth website since our February post. Here’s the complete list of collections added in March and April.

Collections Added in April:

Griffin Museum

Arthur Griffin Photographs : 3,812 items added to existing collection

Newton Free Library

52 collections: 3,803 items

U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center

Natick Soldier Systems Center Photographic Collection : 2,838 items added to existing collection

Public Library of Brookline

Brookline Public Library Manuscript Collection : 462 items

Whitman Public Library

Ruth Graves Wakefield/Toll House Collection : 16 items

Erving Public Library

Erving Public Library Gravestone Rubbings : 44 items

Plymouth Public Library

Plymouth Tercentenary Photographs : 159 items

Beaman Memorial Library

Beaman Memorial Public Library Historical Collection : 113 items

Chelsea Public Library

City of Chelsea Historical Postcards : 128 items

Great Chelsea Fire of 1908 : 374 items

Hingham Public Library

Scenes from Hingham’s Yesteryears-Hingham Public Library’s Postcard Collection : 210 items

Boston Public Library

Magic Posters : 45 items

Anti-Slavery Collection : 38 items

Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion : 783 items

Photographs of the American West : 296 items


Collections Added in March:

Cary Memorial Library

Edwin B. Worthen Collection : 67 items

Cary Library Local History Collection : 2 items

Public Library of Brookline

Brookline Photograph Collection : 605 items added to existing collection

Hatfield Historical Museum

Howes Brothers Glass Slides, Hatfield, Massachusetts, 1882-1907 : 78 items

Old Manuscripts and Deeds : 202 items

Hatfield Local History Collection : 7 items

Lenox Historical Society

Lenox Historical Society Collection : 165 items

Dana Hall School

Nina Heald Webber 1949 Archives Collection : 81 items

Bay Path University

Bay Path University Photograph Collection : 1,062 items

Lancaster Historical Society

Lancaster, Massachusetts Historical Image Collection : 426 items

Lincoln Public Library

Lincoln Town Archives : 6 items

Thomas Crane Public Library

Parker Collection : 5,371 items

Lenox Library Association

Local History Photograph Collection : 1,708 items

Edwin Hale Lincoln Photographs : 567 items

Boston Public Library

Fine and Historic Bookbindings : 352 items

Justin H. Goodstein-Aue Collection : 20 items

Sheet Music Lithograph Covers : 219 items

Archive of Photographic Documentation of Early Massachusetts Architecture : 332 items

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

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.

This past year resulted in several members leaving the Digital Commonwealth Board. Anne Sauer, who served as vice president, left her job at Tufts for a new position at Cornell. Ryan Hanson, who took over for Anne as vice president, left his position at the Newton Free Public Library for a job with a company in the Back Bay of Boston.

Besides these unexpected and regretful departures, the normal matriculation of board members resulted in the resignations of Margaret Morrissey, Director of the Jacob Edwards Library in Southbridge, and Kim Cochran, the ex officio representative from the Massachusetts School Library Association. Both of these board members served three years.

Nancy Heywood, past president of Digital Commonwealth, agreed to re-join the board as a temporary replacement for Anne and Ryan. Nancy has since agreed to remain on the board and serve as its new treasurer. Since Kim’s position is reserved for an MSLA member, the only remaining positions to fill by member application were those left by Margaret and Ryan.

Five exceptional candidates submitted applications for the two open board positions. It was a close vote, but the board decided on accepting Jean Maguire, Library Director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Susan Stearns, who last year became the new Executive Director of the Boston Library Consortium.

Jean Maguire brings to the board a long and broad experience in libraries, beginning as a public library employee in 1987 and moving on to private and academic positions. She began working in the NEGS as a technical services librarian in 1999. Jean has a proven record of leadership in the region and should prove instrumental in helping Digital Commonwealth reach out to a larger membership constituency among smaller organizations not currently served very well, such as the many historical societies within the state.

With over 25 years serving in senior and strategic management positions, Susan Stearns offers the Digital Commonwealth extensive experience in marketing management and communication. At the other end of the member spectrum, Susan should help Digital Commonwealth attract more of the local area’s numerous academic institutions. In addition, she will provide enormous assistance with outreach — both to existing and prospective members. This is an area of concern that Digital Commonwealth needs to expand.

We welcome our two new board members and expect that they will provide enormous benefits to the organization.

For those who applied this year and were not chosen as well as others who might be interested, please consider that there is turnover on the board every year, so although your expertise might not have fit the board’s greatest needs this time around, it well might at another time. There are also many other ways to participate, and the board encourages interested applicants to consider a volunteer position on one of the committees. We can always use the extra help!

Want to get more involved with Digital Commonwealth? We’re looking for members to sit on the board, starting terms in July. If you’re interested in taking on this role, please send current Digital Commonwealth President Karen Cariani (karen_cariani@wgbh.org) a resume or short bio and a statement of interest.

Statements of interest should include:

  • A statement of commitment to be active on a committee (and which committee you are interested in, if you know )
  • A statement of commitment to attend at least half of the board meetings in person and others on the phone. Board meetings are once a month for about 2-3 hours at a time and location agreed to by everyone on the board, (currently last Monday of the month from 9-12)
  • A 2 year commitment to serve on the board
  • The possibilty of serving as an officer at some point

I am not a board member of the Digital Commonwealth. In fact, until the 2014 Annual Conference, I had never attended a Digital Commonwealth event. However, when I showed up, along with three other guests, at the May 2014 board meeting, I was welcomed quite warmly.

Board Members Margaret Morrissey, Jacob Edwards Library, Southbridge; Kim Cochrane; Henry Whittemore Library, Framingham State University; Nancy Heywood, Massachusetts Historical Society; Karen Cariaini, WGBH; Elizabeth Thomsen, NOBLE network; Ellen Dubinsky, Clement C. Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State University and Joe Fisher, O'Leary Library UMass, Lowell. Photograph by Sadie Roosa of WGBH.— at American Antiquarian Society.
Board Members Margaret Morrissey, Jacob Edwards Library, Southbridge; Kim Cochrane, Henry Whittemore Library, Framingham State University; Nancy Heywood, Massachusetts Historical Society; Karen Cariaini, WGBH; Elizabeth Thomsen, NOBLE network; Ellen Dubinsky, Clement C. Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State University and Joe Fisher, O’Leary Library UMass, Lowell. Photograph by Sadie Roosa of WGBH.— at American Antiquarian Society.

The term board meeting makes it seem like it should be extremely formal, possibly even stodgy; however, I got the distinct impression that, although everyone there took the proceedings very seriously, they weren’t just going through the formal motions. These were real people doing real work.

At the meeting we discussed the previous month’s annual conference, the activities of the outreach committee, a plan for debugging the integration of the repository’s new website with the older member site. Being right there during the conversation, it was very easy for me and my fellow guests to add our two cents or volunteer bits of our time to help out. I can guarantee that I would never have participated as much if I had only read about it in the newsletter; that extra barrier of sending even one additional email in response to a call for volunteers would be enough to stop me.

Now, clearly I’m very excited to be part of this whole process, but I can see why others might have reservations. That’s why I truly want to encourage you to sit in on even just one meeting. That’s not very much of a commitment, is it? And in that one meeting, you’ll be able to see the best way for you to participate based on your own schedule: whether it’s sitting on the board, volunteering for a committee, or helping out with only one local event. As a volunteer-run organization, we need our members to participate, and I hope you’ll consider doing so by sitting in on a future board meeting. The next meeting will be on June 23 from 9:30-12 at the MLS building in Marlborough (225 Cedar Hill Street, Suite 229 Marlborough, MA 01752). If you plan on attending, please contact Karen Cariani at karen_cariani@wgbh.org.

Submitted by Sadie Roosa, WGBH