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.

Join us at the Hogan Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester on Thursday, April 2, 2015 for the 9th annual Digital Commonwealth Conference. This year’s featured morning keynote speaker is Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information. The lunchtime keynote speaker is Dan Cohen, executive director of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

“Cloud Bursts and Brainstorms” is our theme, and Breakout sessions are planned on topics ranging from social media to copyright to digital preservation to crafting policies to online exhibits, with more to be announced. Join with your colleagues from across the state in sharing projects, successes, failures, and lessons learned.

Early bird registration opens soon. Member early bird registration is $100; non-member registration is $130. For more information, visit the Digital Commonwealth Conference website

DPLA (The Digital Public Library of America) has just released its Strategic Plan for 2015-2017.  This is significant to us because the Digital Commonwealth in partnership with BPL is a service hub for DPLA.

The DPLA plan is organized into four major initiatives:

  • Complete the hub network so all collections and item types have an on ramp to DPLA
  • Build out the technology platform to be flexible and extensible providing for further growth and diversification
  • Pursue a global outreach program
  • Achieve sustainability through diversification of revenue sources by the end of 2017

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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday sometimes known as the Festival of Lights. It’s an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. This year, Hanukkah is observed from sunset December 16th to nightfall December 24th.

The Digital Commonwealth includes photographs of a Brookline family celebrating Hanukkah in 1971 taken by photographer Spencer Grant and included in the Spencer Grant Collection of the Boston Public Library.

Lensen family lights Hanukkah candles
Lensen family lights Hanukkah candles
Jewish boys light Hanukkah candles
Jewish boys light Hanukkah candles
Lensen family eats Hanukkah dinner, Brookline
Lensen family eats Hanukkah dinner
Jewish boys play with dreidel, Brookline
Jewish boys play with dreidel

skating2

On December 9, 1884, Levant M. Richardson was issued a patent for the use of steel ball bearings in skate wheels, reducing friction and increasing speed, ushering in the modern age of roller skating. This photograph by Leslie Jones shows three children roller skating on Boston Common circa 1939.

UMass Lowell Libraries in partnership with the Tewksbury Museum of Public Health has nearly completed the first phase of a project to digitize intake records from the Tewksbury Almshouse.

ledger

Funding for this project was provided through a Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).
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Greetings from Mohawk TrailThe general route we now know as the Mohawk Trail was once a rough footpath used by the Wampanoags, Nipmucs, Mahicans, Mohawks and Pocumtucks for hunting and trading. Early European settlers used this path as a travel route between Boston and Albany, and as a military route during the French and Indian Wars and the Revolution. In 1814, it became a stagecoach route when service began between Greenfield and Troy, New York.

But the ancient footpath received its name and fame one hundred years ago, in October, 1914, when the Mohawk Trail was dedicated and designated as a scenic highway by the Massachusetts General Court. The road had been engineered and graded for automobile travel at a time when the automobile was becoming an affordable means of transportation. It was unpaved and only 15 feet wide, still an adventurous journey for the early automobile tourist, but gas stations, restaurants, guest houses and souvenir shops soon opened to provide services to the new auto tourists, and the route became famous for its scenic beauty.
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Fallen tree next to Holmes Variety Store
Fallen tree next to Holmes Variety Store

Boats ashore at Savin Hill Yacht Club
Boats ashore at Savin Hill Yacht Club
On the afternoon of September 21, 1938, a Category 3 hurricane struck Long Island and southern New England with little warning, causing over 600 deaths, and great damage to property and the environment. Winds of 121 mph, with gusts close to 200 mph, were recorded at the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, but it was the flooding that caused the most damage. All along the coast, boats sank or were tossed ashore — even “Old Ironsides,” the USS Constitution, was ripped from its moorings in Boston Navy Yard. According to a WPA report, the New Bedford Yacht Club “was plucked bodily from its foundation and scattered in broken wreckage on the surface of the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge.” There was also water damage inland — in Southbridge, for example, a dam burst and “the flood crashed down upon the town’s center, ripping up roads, tearing bridges.”
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Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a national holiday honoring the contributions workers have made to the prosperity and well-being of the country. The first Labor Day observance was organized by the Central Labor Union in New York in 1882, with an estimated 20,000 workers marching in support of labor law reforms including the eight-hour work day. Labor organizations in other cites held similar events the following year, and a handful of states made Labor Day an official state holiday, including Massachusetts in 1888. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894.

This year the Digital Commonwealth has been celebrating Labor Day by posting photographs of Massachusetts workers on the Digital Commonwealth Facebook Page. These images include cranberry pickers, bakers, construction workers, clerical workers and more from around the Commonwealth, and you’ll find many more photographs of workers in the Digital Commonwealth collections.
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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!