The BPL is pleased to announce that they have now moved into the “beta launch” phase of the rollout of the Hydra-based Digital Commonwealth repository platform.

The new URLs are:
Search (public discovery):
Admin (ingest & management):

Not all features are fully implemented as yet. Here is what’s available:

Public Search app:

  • keyword search
  • faceted browsing of search results by format, subject, date
  • browse by collection, institution, or geographic location
  • image viewer with zooming functionality for viewing hi-res images in detail
  • users can create bookmarks and personalized folders of their favorite items
  • users can create an account, or log in via their BPL/MBLN library card or Facebook account
  • easily share items on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media
  • site designed to play well with tablets and phones

Member Admin app:

    • create digital collections
    • upload images
    • add metadata
    • edit existing objects (might be of special interest to members with items in DSpace)

For admin access, contact Tom Blake ( to get started.

Features to be added soon:

  • batch uploads
  • support for other content types, such as postcards, books, and audio

Content from the initial test (alpha) server is being migrated to the new production-server repository. Upon completion all data from the current Digital Commonwealth DSpace server,, will be available in the new Fedora/Hydra repository. So far about 80% of the DSpace content is available. More is added every day. Once the complete migration is assured, the process will begin to shut down the DSpace server, currently hosted at UMass Amherst Libraries.

As the new repository is now in “beta,” the public link can be shared with colleagues both inside and outside your institution(s). The BPL will be doing a small amount of promotion for this, but intend to save the grand ribbon-cutting for when the system finally replaces Coming soon! Stay tuned!

We are still actively seeking feedback, suggestions, etc., so feel free to send comments by using the feedback form at

Earlier this month the Governor approved the inclusion of $147,532 in the state FY14 budget to continue digitization for Digital Commonwealth members under the BPL’s Library for the Commonwealth program.

This money will continue the digital-imaging services that the BPL has provided in partnership with Digital Commonwealth since 2011 through funding provided by a LSTA grant awarded through the MBLC. The state expenditure attests to the valuable work achieved these past two years by the BPL and Digital Commonwealth. Thousands of significant historical items have been digitized and will soon be made available collectively through a new state-of-the-art repository under development at the BPL that just this past week celebrated its initial public beta release.

With this new funding, the BPL will continue to accept project applications and hope to grow this program to include metadata creation and other services in the near future. The BPL and Digital Commonwealth look forward to working with DC members on their digital projects throughout FY14 and beyond.

For more information about participating in this program, details are provided at the BPL’s project blog.

On Monday, June 24, 2013, Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts held a free half-day workshop focusing on developing lesson plans featuring digital content.  The workshop was held at the Whittemore Library, Framingham State University, and was attended by school library media specialists, new teachers, and professionals from cultural organizations interested in making (and using) digital content for educational purposes.

The workshop included an introduction to Digital Commonwealth the organization (a collaborative initiative promoting digital content of Massachusetts cultural institutions), the existing Digital Commonwealth portal and repository (an online discovery and storage platform), screenshots of the upcoming new system (currently in development by the Boston Public Library, a partner organization to Digital Commonwealth), and examples of existing lesson plans using digital content.

Attendees responded favorably to the variety of digital content available via the metadata within the existing portal which includes links to video clips from WGBH’s Open Vault;  images of historical broadsides from the State Library of Massachusetts; and audio files and photographic images from NOBLE’s Digital Heritage.  Marianne Brown, a new teacher, talked about how she developed a lesson plan featuring photographs from the Watertown Free Public Library (digital images of these photographs are stored in the current Digital Commonwealth repository).  Marianne’s lesson plan is available as a PDF on Digital Commonwealth’s lesson plan page:

Kim Cochrane, Curriculum Librarian, Framingham State University, and Nancy Heywood, Digital Projects Coordinator, Massachusetts Historical Society, led the workshop.  Both Kim and Nancy serve on Digital Commonwealth’s Outreach Committee and will review and revise the program. They hope to schedule two more workshops later this year.  For information and notification about future workshops, email Nancy Heywood:

Digital Commonwealth is pleased to announce the addition of three new members on the board of directors to replace outgoing board members. The three new members are Debra DeJonker-Berry from the Jonathan Bourne Public Library, Kelcy Shepard from Amherst College, and Elizabeth Thomsen from the NOBLE network.

These new members will be replacing Sarah Campbell from Holy Cross; Jessica Colati from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and Kristi Chadwick, former President of Digital Commonwealth, who is the current Director of the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton.

Debra DeJonker-Berry has worked for the past year as the Information Systems Librarian in Bourne. Prior to this position she brings to the Board the experience of nearly twenty years service as the director of public libraries in Halifax and Provincetown Massachusetts.

 Kelcy Shepard is currently the Head of Digital Programs at Amherst College. Previously she worked at UMass Amherst as the Digital Interfaces Librarian.  She’s been publishing, teaching, and presenting widely on a multitude of archival-related topics such as metadata, EAD, XML, and The Archivist’s Toolkit since 2000.

Elizabeth Thomsen is a long-time Member Services Manager for NOBLE, the North of Boston Library Exchange. She is responsible for training of staff at the 28 public and academic libraries that belong to NOBLE. She also oversees NOBLE’s Digital Heritage Omeka repository. Perhaps she is also familiar as the presenter of “Future of the Past: Digital Libraries in the Age of Social Media” at this year’s Digital Commonwealth conference.

The Digital Commonwealth welcomes these three exceptional new members to its Board of Directors!