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Updates for April, 2013

The annual conference is taking place May 1! Don’t forget to register!
ConfLogoDC2013 Featured at this year’s conference is the Keynote presentation by
Amy Rudersdorf, Assistant Director for Content for the Digital Public  Library of America.

 Amy’s talk will provide an introduction to DPLA and its mission and goals and make a case for opening up our nation’s library, archives, and  museum data to the world. We should also hear about how the DPLA intend to use Digital Commonwealth content in their plans.

 Besides Amy, the conference will also feature a second Keynote by Butch Lazorchak, Digital Archivist from the Library of Congress. Butch  will talk about Digital Stewardship and Digital Storytelling that includes crowdfunding, citizen archiving, personal digital archiving, and  digital mapping.  For anyone who follows the Signal Blog, as all of us should, you are well aware of Butch’s good work.

In addition the conference will offer nine breakout sessions covering digital collection preparation, continuing education opportunities,  digitizing newspapers, dealing with vendors, and two sessions introducing the new BPL repository for its first public debut display! (explained in more detail below)

For a full list and descriptions of the all the conference events including the nine breakout sessions please visit the Digital Commonwealth member’s site @  Also available in this PDF document.

New BPL Repository to Debut at Digital Commonwealth Conference May 1

The late afternoon breakout session, “Digital Commonwealth 2.0: Creating Online Digital Collections with the Redesigned Repository System,” will provide the first full public introduction to the new Digital Commonwealth repository. The presentation will be provided by the repository’s two developers, Steven Anderson and Eben English.
An earlier afternoon session, “Digital Commonwealth 2.0 and Metadata: Make Morph, Manipulate, Master,” will demonstrate the process of creating, editing, and uploading descriptive records using the new repository system.
For the latest update on the development schedule, check out this blog post from Eben.

Digital Public Library of America harvests 20,400 records from Digital Commonwealth 

For it’s Initial Release on April 18, the DPLA gathered content from seven partner repositories, one of which was the Digital Commonwealth. 20,400 records were harvested from the Digital Commonwealth’s Omeka repository by the DPLA. That accounts for over 90% of the content available. The DPLA’s public launch will be celebrated at a two-day event at the Boston Public Library on April 18 and 19.  

Digital Commonwealth Images Featured in the DPLA  Public Release Promotion
Several images from the Digital Commonwealth will be highlighted in special exhibits, displays, and promotions for the upcoming Digital Public Library of America public release. Items from Watertown, Southbridge, and Williamsburg Public Libraries will be included in a special DPLA exhibit celebrating National Library Month. And if you are driving into Boston on rt. 90, be sure to look up at the WGBH digital mural for a massive display of selected images from Digital Commonwealth members! 
2012 Digitization Training Sessions Wrap-up Report
During 2012, Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts offered 8 digitization training sessions for staff from libraries, archives, and cultural institutions who were interested in issues relating to the creation and enhancement of digital collections. A recent LSTA grant awarded to the Boston Public Library (BPL) by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) allowed the Digital Commonwealth to work with staff of the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) on the training sessions. The topics covered in the sessions included digital project planning, selecting and preparing materials for digitization, and file format and metadata issues. Read more on the Digital Commonwealth blog.

Free Workshop: Developing Lesson Plans with Digital Content from Digital Commonwealth
Are you a teacher (4th to 12th grade) who is interested in developing lesson plans featuring digital content? Here is an opportunity for a FREE workshop offered by Digital Commonwealth at Framingham State University on June 24, 2013. Full details are available in this blog post and registration is available at
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Here is the latest update from Eben English, Web Services Developer at the BPL, who is helping develop the new Fedora/Hydra repository for the Digital Commonwealth:

The initial development phase for the new digital object management system to store and provide access to digital collections from Digital Commonwealth members is currently underway and will soon be complete. Items and metadata from the existing DSpace repository ( have begun to be migrated into the new system, and functionality for the item ingest forms as well as the end-user search interface is in the process of being implemented. It is anticipated that all basic objects from the DSpace repository will be ingested by the end of April, and support for (and ingest of) more complex digital objects (items with multiple images, books, oral histories, etc.) will be added by the end of May.

The new repository will be debuted at the Digital Commonwealth annual conference on May 1 – the 3:00 breakout session, “Digital Commonwealth 2.0: Creating Online Digital Collections with the Redesigned Repository System,” includes a full demonstration of the application, while a related session at 1:45, “Digital Commonwealth 2.0 and Metadata,” will demonstrate how to create metadata for digital objects using the new system.

For a full schedule of the conference and program descriptions, view this PDF document.

7th Annual Digital Library Conference

May 1, 2013, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, at the Devens Commons Center,
31 Andrews Parkway, Devens, Massachusetts.

Registration Fees:

Digital Commonwealth Members: $95
Students: $95
Non-Members: $110
Advanced Registration Deadline: April 20, 2013

Register Today!

For full schedule and program descriptions, view this PDF document

9:45 – 10:45        First Keynote

The Digital Public Library of America: Interconnection and Advocacy on a National Scale

Amy Rudersdorf, Assistant Director for Content, Digital Public Library of America

When DPLA launches in April 2013, it will become a central repository for a vast array of data about digitized and born-digital collections from all over the United States, from public to academic to special libraries (think Digital Commonwealth) and national collections (the Smithsonian and the National Archives, for two). Access to the data will be available centrally through a DPLA portal, but also as an open API, enabling anyone, anywhere to develop apps, services, and tools to answer their personal or organizational needs. Keeping the data open in the “cloud” so it can be used by the “crowd” means that librarians in New York and Texas can use it one way, historians in Florida and Alaska another, and maybe even schoolchildren in Australia still another.This talk will provide an introduction to DPLA and its mission and goals, update our Digital Commonwealth partners on our progress, and make a case for opening up our nation’s library, archives, and museum data to the world.

12:00– 1:30       Lunch and Second Keynote

Share and Tell: Digital Stewardship and Digital Storytelling

Butch Lazorchak, Digital Archivist, Library of Congress

Libraries, archives and museums provide the “building blocks” for lifelong learning. Organizations like Digital Commonwealth provide the technical infrastructure to ensure that these digital building blocks are stored, described, made accessible and preserved over time.

The stewardship of digital information is an incredibly valuable service that requires technical expertise and diligence along with significant resources, both human and monetary. But while our community’s expertise in format obsolescence, ingest mechanisms and administrative metadata helps to ensure that the digital materials under our care are technically protected, it doesn’t ensure that people outside our community understand the work we do and its value.

That’s why, more than ever, we need to remember that we’re in the storytelling business.

Storytelling is a way for us to talk passionately about the resources under our care and to build the emotional case that the work we do has value. These are not fairytales; many of the stories we tell don’t necessarily have happy endings. But the resources we steward are the building blocks for our patron’s stories and help people understand their place in history, the economy and the world.

There are so many exciting advances in technology that affect the work we do. We’ll take a quick survey of some interesting things (crowdfunding for government; citizen archivists; personal digital archiving; digital mapping) and try to get to the essence of why they’re important to our profession and our patrons and explore how we can leverage them to tell stories about the incredible value we have in our digital commonwealth.

Are you a teacher (4th grade to 12th grade) who is interested in developing lesson plans featuring digital content?  Could you benefit from a half-day workshop focused on learning about digital collections and ideas about how to use digitized primary source materials within the classroom?  Please consider attending a free workshop on June 24th!  The workshop will be held in the Room UM (Upper Mezzanine) 16, Whittemore Library, Framingham State University, State Street, Framingham, from 9:00 AM until 1:30 PM on Monday, June 24, 2013.

Although individual teachers are certainly welcome, this workshop is an excellent place for team teachers or grade-level teams to hear about a statewide initiative presenting digital content from cultural institutions in Massachusetts, learn about some existing lesson plans,  and get some advice about how to prepare new plans featuring digital content.  The workshop will also include some hands-on time when attendees will start developing something to use in their classrooms!

To register:

For information and notification about future workshops, email Nancy Heywood: