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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:

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 @
and in PDF download @


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:

  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:

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:

     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:

      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:

Sincerely, Digital Commonwealth
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The Boston Public Library received an award for its digitization work for Digital Commonwealth members at last month’s Griffin Museum of Photography’s eighth annual Focus Awards ceremony. The Focus Awards recognize contributions to the promotion, curation, and presentation of photography. The BPL received the Commonwealth Award, which is given to an organization that brings prominence to the local photographic scene.

“We are honored to receive this award for our digitization work,” said Amy E. Ryan, President of the Boston Public Library. “It is our great pleasure to contribute to Digital Commonwealth and help increase access to photos archives, cultural treasures, and other historical materials for people across Massachusetts and around the world.”

The annual Focus Awards was created by the Griffin Museum in 2006 in order to recognize critical contributions to the promotion of photography made by institutions and individuals. Tom Blake, Digital Projects Manager for the BPL, accepted the Commonwealth Award on the library’s behalf.

The award was presented to Tom by Bob Cullum, the grandson of photographer Leslie Jones (1886-1967). The Leslie Jones collection of nearly 40,000 glass negatives was digitized by the BPL and is now available for viewing in the new Digital Commonwealth repository that the BPL designed and built and now hosts —

The award is certainly very well deserved, not just for the work the BPL has done for the membership and organization of Digital Commownwealth, but the enormouse value this work provides the reputation of the Commonwealth as a whole. Congratulations!!

The following is a guest post from Molly Stothert-Maurer from the Perkins School of the Blind who attended the recent DPLA gathering at the BPL and provided this report:


On October 24-25, 2013 Northeastern University, Simmons College, and the Boston Public Library hosted the first annual DPLAfest, in honor of the successful launch in April 2013 of the new Digital Public Library of America.


One of the great take-home messages from the event is the clever analogy drawn between the pooling of the United States’ digital assets into the DPLA via content and service hubs, as a water ecosystem whereby small libraries, archives, historical societies, and other communities (ponds) contribute their assets to state consortia and other larger networks like the Digital Commonwealth (lake) which are subsequently harvested by the DPLA (the ocean). This model allows the DPLA to ingest assets with great efficiency by culling large, standardized data sets with metadata that can be easily mapped, allowing for a streamlined and efficient process that keeps the DPLA slim and trim (think few employees and sustainable finances) for the benefit of users worldwide- and the benefits are many. For small institutions: the power of having assets searchable equitably alongside major institutions on an attractive and user-friendly portal , with a rapidly expanding toolbox of custom apps, widgets and other “hacks” thanks to the DPLA’s open API (public docks?)- is a true rainfall for us all (pun intended). Furthermore, the DPLA is committed to sending web traffic back to individual institutions, and building support through community programs. This is evidenced by one of their credos: “Plan Nationally, Scan Locally”.

For more information about the DPLAfest check out their Recordings and Notes page.