All the latest news from the Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

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Updates for September, 2013

Vote!  Vote!  Vote!

Emails were sent this week asking designated members who represent their institutions to vote for the new slate of officers on the Board of Directors plus revisions made to the Digital Commonwealth By Laws.

A minimum of 15 more votes are needed, so please vote today! Voting will be extended another week as necessary.

A list of the current board officers and members is available at An essential change to the By Laws included the addition of a conflict of interest provision, necessary for the Digital Commonwealth’s transition to official nonprofit status (see below).

Another significant change to the By Laws will allow Ex-officio members the right to vote on board decisions. Most importantly, this change gives the BPL, currently represented by Tom Blake, the opportunity to fully participate in board actions. As Digital Commonwealth further solidifies its partnership with the BPL, this move was seen by the board as an essential element for stronger integration of the two organizations.

If you think you should have received an email directive to vote but did not, please contact

Nonprofit Status: 501(c)3 update

Why is voting so important? Because once the new officers and the By-Law revisions are officially ratified, Digital Commonwealth can submit it’s 501(c)3 application to the IRS for nonprofit status. The application is ready to go!

While an organization is waiting for processing of their application, they may operate as a tax-exempt entity. So vote today, and help Digital Commonwealth attain its non-profit status!

Repository Update at the BP

The BPL repository development team continues to make steady progress in rolling out new functionality, features, and fixes. Most significantly the batch upload process is nearing completion while work on OAI-PMH harvesting has begun. For a full September report, view this blog post:

DC and BPL attend MBLC Legislative meeting

Both Digital Commonwealth and the BPL were represented at the annual MBLC Legislative meeting where members of the library and information community are invited to comment on line items in the MBLC budget. Details of the meeting can be read in this blog post: Digital Commonwealth’s statement and handout in support of the BPL’s Library of the Commonwealth digital services are available for download in PDF format:

Elizabeth Hacala resigns

Many Digital Commonwealth members know Elizabeth through email and phone conversations as she handled many of your problems  the past three years. Unfortunately, due to family matters, Elizabeth is resigning from her role as administrative and financial manger for Digital Commonwealth. For more about Elizabeth’s departure along with a personal note from her to the membership, please read this blog post: email concerning membership questions and problems should now be sent to 

Volunteers Needed: to Help with Member Management 

With Elizabeth’s departure comes the challenge of filling her service roles with the budget and membership management. The board is considering how best to replace Elizabeth, if we should have one or two new paid positions and what those might entail. In the meantime, though, Ryan Hanson, Treasurer for Digital Commonwealth, will take on a larger role in helping with budgetary matters. And hopefully volunteers will step forward to help manage membership issues.If you are interesting in lending a hand, please email

Sincerely, Digital Commonwealth
Copyright © 2013 Digital Commonwealth. All rights reserved.
Contact email:

Both Digital Commonwealth and the BPL were represented at the annual MBLC Legislative meeting on September 12 where members of the library and information community were invited to comment on line items in the MBLC budget. The objective is to improve the MBLC’s presentation of needs to the legislature.

This year, a big push by the MBLC concerns the societal digital divide. The MBLC sees Digital Commonwealth — and more specifically the partnership achievements of Digital Commonwealth and the BPL — as a large part of that initiative.

At the beginning of the meeting, a demonstration of the new BPL repository by developers Stephen Anderson and Eben English was received with great enthusiasm. Afterwards, Michael Colford read a statement in support of the BPL’s partnership with Digital Commonwealth and its Library of the Commonwealth digital scanning services.

Afterwards, Karen Cariani, President of Digital Commonwealth, read a statement and presented a handout that offered further support of the work done by the BPL in partnership with the Digital Commonwealth.

Downloads of the Digital Commonwealth’s statement and handout are available in PDF format:

Another big issue at the meeting concerned the plan to establish a state-wide system of buying and lending ebooks. One question considered was whether or not Digital Commonwealth could be involved in the distribution of electronic books. It is unclear at this point what Digital Commonwealth’s role might be, if any, but this is certainly something that will be further discussed.

Elizabeth Hacala, who has been providing administrative and financial management services to Digital Commonwealth for the past three years, is resigning due to family responsibilities. Elizabeth first became involved with Digital Commonwealth through her work with the MLA, which served as Digital Commonwealth’s fiscal agent until last year, and then through her own firm, Fitchdale Management.

Elizabeth’s service has extended far and beyond the handful of hours for which she was officially paid. She graciously tended to many membership issues as well as regularly attended monthly board meetings. In that venue especially, her background in software development and technology has been an invaluable added asset, particularly during this past year of transitions to new repository platforms.

Digital Commonwealth owes Elizabeth considerable appreciation as yet another key person who has been instrumental in the organization’s survival and success. Fortunately, though, Elizabeth is not leaving Digital Commonwealth entirely. She will continue to help manage the annual conference, and undoubtedly continue to contribute in other ways as well.

Elizabeth sends this personal message to the membership:

“After over three years working with the Digital Commonwealth I will be leaving my work running day to day operations. It has been wonderful to meet you all by phone, at trainings, and at conference.  I hate to say I am leaving to spend more time with my family, because that is such a cliche, yet that is exactly what I am doing.  It was difficult to give up working on a regular basis with such a great and dedicated board.

I will continue to work on some special projects like the Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference and look forward to seeing you all there in the spring.”

Please no longer email Elizabeth directly but send all future membership inquiries to

Over the last month or so, the development of the new Digital Commonwealth repository currently ongoing at BPL has focused on refining the batch upload process. The repository developers have been working closely with the BPL Digital Services metadata team to create a standardized spreadsheet format for ingest that will offer institutions the ability to provide rich metadata about their digital objects, while also being flexible, intuitive, and simple to use. This work has brought the goal of allowing institutions to do self-mediated batch uploads much closer, though there are still several issues to tackle before this functionality is ready to roll out.

Meanwhile, the beta testing phase of both the “Search” and “Admin” applications is ongoing and has received quite a bit of helpful feedback from a number of institutions/individuals that have taken the system for a test-drive.

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

In late September, development of the workflow for ingesting material into the repository via OAI-PMH will begin in order to aggregate records from the numerous institutions around the state that provide access to digital objects through their own repository systems. The BPL will be reaching out to institutions that currently contribute material to Digital Commonwealth via OAI-PMH feed to learn a more about existing data structures, preferred metadata formats for harvesting, back-end systems being used, and other details that will help this phase of the project move forward more smoothly.

Lastly, the BPL has set up a public Google Group email list for institutions and users to provide feedback or report issues with the new repository system. Anyone may read content posted to the group; membership is required to send messages to the list. See!forum/digitalcommonwealth for details.