Guest post by Jeff Klapes, Head of Reference Services, Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Massachusetts
Beebe Library in Wakefield is a busy, medium-sized library serving a population of 25,000. We have a variety of historical collections, including photographs, postcards, maps, local government documents, and more. Boston Public Library has been invaluable in helping us digitize these materials for better access and preservation, scanning our maps, annual town reports, school yearbooks, and local history monographs for the Internet Archive. However, we’ve also worked on a number of other projects that we could manage ourselves. Two of these collections in particular are worth noting. Continue reading →
Visitors to the Digital Commonwealth site can now browse the ever-growing collection using a number of different map views. These maps show the locations of cities and other landmarks depicted or described within items in the collection. By clicking on a marker on the map, visitors can search for all items from a specific location. Visitors can also use the map’s search button to find all items from within a particular geographic area displayed in the map window. This new feature offers a powerful and exciting way to explore the collections, and provides vivid evidence of the global scope and relevancy of the collections contributed by Massachusetts cultural institutions. Continue reading →
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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
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.
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.
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). Continue reading →
The 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. Continue reading →
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.” Continue reading →