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.

On April 18 and 19, 2013, the Boston Public Library will host an event at which the Digital Public Library of America will be formally launched.

The underlying system of the DPLA will both aggregate and re-expose metadata drawn from a variety of regional digital library systems. These regional systems will include the initial network of Content and Service Hubs of which Digital Commonwealth has been included. Digital Commonwealth was selected as a pilot DPLA Hub because of the richness and diversity of its content as well as its ability to help members leverage the resources at the Boston Public Library for local digitization projects. As a result of this partnership, descriptive metadata currently searchable and harvestable via Digital Commonwealth systems will also become searchable and harvestable via the DPLA web interface and API. Students, researchers, digital humanists, and applications developers from around the world will now have, at their fingertips, valuable metadata describing digitized cultural heritage materials from Massachusetts, the United States, and beyond. We look forward to the creative and innovative lesson plans, research projects, and learning tools that this consolidated online resource will inspire now and into the future.

At the launch event, Digital Commonwealth will unveil an online exhibition based on the Sports Temples exhibit currently on display at the BPL in Copley Square. The online exhibition will be one of several examples of what will be possible once digital content is made available through the DPLA. Digital Commonwealth has been asked to provide some representative samples of images and corresponding descriptive metadata to be put on display in a variety of formats during the event. Please contact Tom Blake ( if you would like any of your materials to be included in this event, and for further details on how to participate.