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Updates for March, 2014

2014 Annual Conference: April 8, at Holy Cross

“Practically Digital: Doing What it Takes”

The 8th Annual Digital Commonwealth Conference

Hogan Center

College of the Holy Cross, Worcester

2014 conference registration

Join us at the Hogan Center at Holy Cross in Worcester for another great annual conference. This year’s theme is: “Practically Digital: Doing What it Takes”.

Featuring Keynotes by Melissa Levine and Liz Bishoff
Doors open at 8:00am and sessions run from 9:00am – 4:00pm.
Registration and complete information available here:


Repository Migration: completion set for April 8!

That is correct, the migration of our repositories in DSpace and Omeka is scheduled for completion the day of the Annual Conference! The folks at the BPL are actively working on completing the final OAI feeds from our Omeka site ( The final objects from DSpace ( are being moved. And the DC news blog has already been copied over to a new server space at the BPL  ( Finally, we have been busy copying and updating information pages from Omeka to the Wild Apricot membership site (
All of this work is slated for completion by April 8! In time for an official public release at the Conference! After that, we will terminate the DSpace and Omeka sites and the URL will point to the new Hydra repository at the BPL, currently accessed @
This may sound like a confusing mish mash of overlapping websites and digital repositories — but not for very much longer!! After April 8 we will have one repository site, one member informational site, and one news blog site — three separate URLs for three very distinctive purposes. Hooray!! Hooray!!


DPLA: Gates Foundation Grant

Digital Commonwealth will be hosting 3 upcoming workshops to prepare public libraries to contribute content to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) as part of a Gates Foundation Grant recently awarded to the DPLA.
In these workshops, public librarians will learn how to work with Digital Commonwealth to select content for digitization and/or identify existing digital content, digitize new content and provide metadata and contextualization for that content, and determine potential themes for DPLA
Bread and Roses Strike Exhibitions (, such as this exhibit concerning the Bread & Roses Strike in Lawrence:
The workshop dates have been scheduled:
  1. Wednesday, April 16, 9:30am – 4:30pm at Boston Public Library (Application deadline is April 9, 2014, 5pm)
  2. Wednesday, June 18, 9:30am – 4:30pm at Jones Public Library, Amherst, MA
  3. Wednesday, July 16, 9:30am – 4:30pm at SAILS Inc., Lakeville, MA
The ideal candidates for these workshops will be public librarians who deal with local history, genealogy and similar unique content. If interested, registration is now available.


Board Members and Volunteers!!

A call will go out at the Annual Conference for volunteers to join the Board of Directors and help with projects. Two board members are resigning due to new jobs they have received. Our current Vice President, Anne Sauer, is leaving Tufts for a position at Cornell. And our current Treasurer, Ryan Hanson, is leaving the Newton Public Library for a job at a private company in Boston. Joe Fisher will fill in for Ryan as Treasurer, but the board has yet to determine a VP replacement.
These are exciting times for Digital Commonwealth, and if you have an interest in serving as a volunteer or would like to recommend someone else, please send an email to

!! Check out our recent Blog Posts !!

The Public Library of Brookline’s Digitization Experience
Anne Reed, the Assistant Director for Administration at the Brookline Public Library offers this blog post about the library’s experience preparing and submitting materials to the BPL for digitization:


Digital Commonwealth Movers & Shakers 2014
Congratulations goes out to Tom Blake and Kristi Chadwick, current and former board members, for their inclusion in this year’s Library Journal list of “Movers & Shakers” for 2014:


Metadata Creation is a GAAS!
Timely tips and sage advice about metadata creation from Amy Benson, archivist at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and a recent consultant for the Digital Commonwealth. Read all about it in her guest blog post:


School Librarians and Digital Commonwealth at MSLA
Digital Commonwealth board members conducted a presentation to teachers at the recent MSLA conference about using DC lesson plans and incorporating DC and DPLA images in the classroom:


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Updates for January, 2014


Save the Date!! April 8, 2014


8th Annual Digital Commonwealth Conference

Hogan Center at Holy Cross in Worcester


This one-day conference features keynote addresses from two nationally known speakers: Melissa Levine and Liz Bishoff


Melissa Levine is the Lead Copyright Officer from the University of Michigan Library. She will speak about current copyright issues. 


Liz Bishoff, of the Bishoff Group, was previously the Executive Director of the Colorado Digitization Project. She will discuss statewide and regional digital collaborations and the need for sustainability planning.

Planned breakout session topics include audience engagement and crowdsourcing, conservation and digitization, online exhibits and lightning round presentations from Digital Commonwealth members. More details regarding sessions and pricing will be available in early February.
Repository update
The BPL has been busy working on adding OAI-PMH harvesting feeds from member sites to the new repository. In this latest blog post, read about the work being done and the anticipated completion dates:  
DPLA Plans Training Sessions
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is working with four content hubs, including Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and planning a series of training sessions for public librarians. The goal is to help public librarians modernize their skills in a digital age, and in turn, communicate their work and their locales to the world.   
Digital Commonwealth and its partner organization, the Boston Public Library, will be announcing more details soon about the three upcoming training sessions.  Digital Commonwealth is delighted that Anna Fahey-Flynn, BPL’s Collaborative Library Services Manager, is helping to implement this exciting training program.

Member Projects: Blog Post Series

Two recent blog posts add to our series about member digitization projects. Both of these happen to focus on the challenges of creating metadata:

Lee Library Association’s Digitization Project

In a followup with Library  Trustee Mary Philpott, she discusses her experiences using the admin interface of the new repository at the BPL to create metadata for Lee Library’s digital objects:

The Accidental Metadatalyst

Cara Marcus, Director of Library Services at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, also examines metadata creation in this blog post, only in this instance using the Excel spreadsheet template provided by the BPL:
If you would like to highlight your institution and add your experiences to this ongoing series, please send details in an email to
DPLA offices located at the Boston Public Library

In a recent blog post, Dan Cohen, Executive Director of the DPLA, describes the physical office space of the Digital Public Library of America within the Boston Public Library. Digital Commonwealth is glad to hear that its partner organization, the BPL, has been so welcoming to the DPLA!

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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:

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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

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Updates for August, 2013

New Officers to serve on the Digital Commonwealth Board of Directors

The acceptance by the DC Board of Ellen Dubinsky (Bridgewater) to serve as Secretary for the current fiscal year, now rounds out the officer positions for the Board of Directors. Karen Cariani (WGBH) has stepped up to fill the President’s position while Anne Sauer (Tufts) will serve as Vice-President. Ryan Hanson (Newton) will continue another year as Treasurer. Joseph Fisher (UMass Lowell) now serves as Past-President.

Be on the lookout soon for an email voting process to begin, since it requires majority approval by the membership to ratify the new office appointments.

Information about and links to the new Digital Commonwealth Fedora Repository

The BPL has now moved into the “beta launch” phase of the the Hydra-based Digital Commonwealth repository platform. Information about the functionality available and links to the front and back end are explained in this recent blog post:

Amy Benson hired to advise members on Metadata procedures

For the remainder of this calendar year, Amy Benson will be providing metadata production support and quality control assistance for collections digitized under the BPL/Digital Commonwealth LSTA-funded statewide digitization program.

LSTA funding has also enabled the hiring the Amy.

Many members should recognize Amy through the numerous digital-production workshops she has given in the area, often in association with the NEDCC. Amy also served on the original Executive Committee of Digital Commonwealth. She currently works as the Librarian/Archivist for Digital Projects at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library.

For more information and instructions on how to request assistance from Amy, please read this Digital Commonwealth blog post:

Vote for new officers and By-law changes

With the new fiscal year and the change in the Digital Commonwealth board of directors membership also comes a change in officer positions. Now that Joseph Fisher (UMass Lowell) has completed his year of service as president of the board, Karen Cariani (WGBH) has moved up from serving as vice-president to president for the next 12 months. Anne Sauer (Tufts) has accepted to serve as the new vice-president. Since Anne has been serving as secretary this past year, that position is now vacant.

At the next board meeting in late July, open officer and committee positions will be filled. The slate of officers will require ratification by the membership. In addition, further adjustments to the By-laws are being prepared that will also require ratification. Be on the lookout for an email coming later this summer announcing the voting procedure.

C/W MARS members meet to learn about Digital Commonwealth

The C/W MARS network arranged for a members  meeting at the Palmer Public Library on June 27th to discuss the future of digitizing and the Digital Treasures service.  Danny Pucci, Lead Digital Projects Librarian at the Boston Public Library, presented a power point presentation on the Digital Commonwealth and current partnership with the BPL that has provided LSTA-funded scanning services to members within the past two years.

There were many questions about the future plans for digitization at the state-wide level and clarification was sought on the role of Digital Commonwealth. Margaret Morrissey, public library director in Southbridge and Digital Commonwealth board member, spoke about the evolving partnership between the BPL and Digital Commonwealth.

The general consensus from the meeting was that C/W MARS would let the status quo prevail for now and take a vote on the continuation of the service at a future date.

Lesson Plan Workshop

On Monday, June 24, 2013, Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts held a free half-day workshop focusing on developing lesson plans featuring digital content. Kim Cochrane, Curriculum Librarian, Framingham State University, and Nancy Heywood, Digital Projects Coordinator, Massachusetts Historical Society, led the workshop. For more information please view this Digital Commonwealth blog post: http://digitalcommonwwealth/blog/?p=108

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Updates for May, 2013

Annual Conference: The Results Are In! 

Overall, the Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference was a huge success! We had 123 attendees. This was an impressive increase from the past few years, and surely reflects not only the increase in DC membership but also the enthusiasm and excitement apparent as new members tackle new digital projects, many for the very first time!
Survey results indicate that nearly half of the attendees represented public libraries while a quarter came from academic institutions. The remainder worked in schools, special libraries, archives, and historical societies.

Over half of the survey respondents gave the overall conference an excellent rating and another 30% rated it good. The keynotes were by far the most popular presentations, with Amy Rudersdorf’s talk about the Digital Public Library of America receiving a 71% excellent rating while Butch Lazorchak’s look at Digital Storytelling achieved a 61% excellent rating.  

Comments were also very encouraging, both expressed in the survey and related personally to members of the Digital Commonwealth Board, that the facilities were comfortable and convenient and the conference highly rewarding and appreciated.

The challenge to the Conference Committee now is to make the 2014 conference even better! If you would like to share other comments about the conference or volunteer to help plan future conferences, please email

2013 Annual Conference Presentations Available
Presentations from the 2013 Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference are now available for viewing and download in PDF format:
Legislative Amendment to Continue BPL Scanning Services in Conference Committee
Amendments in both the House and Senate have passed to provide $148,000 in funding for continued digitization support to Digital Commonwealth members — but the House version of the amendment did not include the proper language. As such, the expenditure would go to the MLS. The Senate version did include the correct language specifically earmarking the $148,000 to the BPL for statewide digitization as a per capita increase in their state line-item funding. The two amendments are now being discussed in conference committee in order to resolve the difference. If you wish to advocate for continued digital scanning services by the BPL, then please contact the representatives listed below and ask that they resolve to the Senate version of the amendment : “amendment 103: Library of the Commonwealth (7000-9401) that the bill be amended, in Section 2, in item 7000-9401, by striking the figure “35.9” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:-“38.3” and in the same item by striking out the figure “$9,231,475” and inserting in place thereof the following figure “$9,379,475.”

Here are the committee members:
House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, Representative Stephen Kulik ( Worthington) and Representative Viriato deMacedo (Plymouth); Senate Ways and Means Chair Stephen Brewer, Senator Jennifer Flanagan (Leominster) and Senator Michael Knapik (Westfield)


Digital Commonwealth has never done a great job at organizing volunteer assistance, but that is about to change. We received a number of responses in the conference survey from members interested in becoming more involved, and we are determined to take full advantage of the enthusiasm and talent!

Areas needing help in the coming new fiscal year include an IMLS grant that will be submitted in February. Digital Commonwealth has always been a volunteer organization, but it has become apparent that we desperately need a paid staff person. The IMLS has encouraged us to apply for a grant to supply funding for that position with the directive that we devise a model of sustainability that could be applied nationally by other state-wide digital libraries. This is an enormous challenge, and we could use help by grant writers and others who are willing to research details about other existing comparable organizations.

Other projects include help with this newsletter and the Digital Commonwealth blog. As you can see, the May delivery is occurring in June. (refer above to that need for a staff person!) With a little more volunteer help, though, we might be able to stick to an actual monthly deadline! The Conference Committee is another endeavor that could use research help. We would like to keep it growing with more reputable speakers and corporate sponsorship. 

If any of these projects is of interest, please email We would love to have your assistance!

Chicopee Public Library Adds Collections
The Chicopee Public Library has established an Omeka repository that now houses its online archives: The site presently contains three collections: Soldiers Record, Chicopee Weekly Journal, and The Olive Leaf. Metadata from the first two of these collections, 427 records in total, have been harvested into the Digital Commonwealth Omeka repository. For more information about the Chicopee archive and its collections, please read this blog post by Amber Clooney, the Electronic Reference Services Librarian at Chicopee Public Library.

Digital Commonwealth at MLS Conference
Digital Commonwealth members Worcester Public Library and the Perkins Library for the Blind will represent the Digital Commonwealth at the Massachusetts Library System conference, “Making Change: Transfer Creativity in Libraries,” as part of the Ten table talks by Massachusetts institutions that foster creativity. The conference will be held Thursday, June 13th, at the DCU in Worcester.

Free Workshop: Developing Lesson Plans with Digital Content from Digital Commonwealth
Are you a teacher (4th to 12th grade) who is interested in developing lesson plans featuring digital content? Here is an opportunity for a FREE workshop offered by Digital Commonwealth at Framingham State University on June 24, 2013. Full details are available in this blog post and registration is available at
Sincerely, Digital Commonwealth
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Updates for April, 2013

The annual conference is taking place May 1! Don’t forget to register!
ConfLogoDC2013 Featured at this year’s conference is the Keynote presentation by
Amy Rudersdorf, Assistant Director for Content for the Digital Public  Library of America.

 Amy’s talk will provide an introduction to DPLA and its mission and goals and make a case for opening up our nation’s library, archives, and  museum data to the world. We should also hear about how the DPLA intend to use Digital Commonwealth content in their plans.

 Besides Amy, the conference will also feature a second Keynote by Butch Lazorchak, Digital Archivist from the Library of Congress. Butch  will talk about Digital Stewardship and Digital Storytelling that includes crowdfunding, citizen archiving, personal digital archiving, and  digital mapping.  For anyone who follows the Signal Blog, as all of us should, you are well aware of Butch’s good work.

In addition the conference will offer nine breakout sessions covering digital collection preparation, continuing education opportunities,  digitizing newspapers, dealing with vendors, and two sessions introducing the new BPL repository for its first public debut display! (explained in more detail below)

For a full list and descriptions of the all the conference events including the nine breakout sessions please visit the Digital Commonwealth member’s site @  Also available in this PDF document.

New BPL Repository to Debut at Digital Commonwealth Conference May 1

The late afternoon breakout session, “Digital Commonwealth 2.0: Creating Online Digital Collections with the Redesigned Repository System,” will provide the first full public introduction to the new Digital Commonwealth repository. The presentation will be provided by the repository’s two developers, Steven Anderson and Eben English.
An earlier afternoon session, “Digital Commonwealth 2.0 and Metadata: Make Morph, Manipulate, Master,” will demonstrate the process of creating, editing, and uploading descriptive records using the new repository system.
For the latest update on the development schedule, check out this blog post from Eben.

Digital Public Library of America harvests 20,400 records from Digital Commonwealth 

For it’s Initial Release on April 18, the DPLA gathered content from seven partner repositories, one of which was the Digital Commonwealth. 20,400 records were harvested from the Digital Commonwealth’s Omeka repository by the DPLA. That accounts for over 90% of the content available. The DPLA’s public launch will be celebrated at a two-day event at the Boston Public Library on April 18 and 19.  

Digital Commonwealth Images Featured in the DPLA  Public Release Promotion
Several images from the Digital Commonwealth will be highlighted in special exhibits, displays, and promotions for the upcoming Digital Public Library of America public release. Items from Watertown, Southbridge, and Williamsburg Public Libraries will be included in a special DPLA exhibit celebrating National Library Month. And if you are driving into Boston on rt. 90, be sure to look up at the WGBH digital mural for a massive display of selected images from Digital Commonwealth members! 
2012 Digitization Training Sessions Wrap-up Report
During 2012, Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts offered 8 digitization training sessions for staff from libraries, archives, and cultural institutions who were interested in issues relating to the creation and enhancement of digital collections. A recent LSTA grant awarded to the Boston Public Library (BPL) by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) allowed the Digital Commonwealth to work with staff of the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) on the training sessions. The topics covered in the sessions included digital project planning, selecting and preparing materials for digitization, and file format and metadata issues. Read more on the Digital Commonwealth blog.

Free Workshop: Developing Lesson Plans with Digital Content from Digital Commonwealth
Are you a teacher (4th to 12th grade) who is interested in developing lesson plans featuring digital content? Here is an opportunity for a FREE workshop offered by Digital Commonwealth at Framingham State University on June 24, 2013. Full details are available in this blog post and registration is available at
Sincerely, Digital Commonwealth
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Updates for January, 2013

This Issue highlights three reports about repository projects involving Digital Commonwealth and the Boston Public Library

Digital Commonwealth announces the release of its new Omeka repository system

Last week Digital Commonwealth released its new open-source Omeka repository system as a temporary replacement for its aging Portal. Now when you navigate to you access our new Omeka installation. 

This is considered an interim step while the BPL completes development of the system that will ultimately replace both the Portal and DSpace repository. In the mean time, Omeka will enable Digital Commonwealth to continue providing active member services, such as continuing to harvest metadata and ingest images from new collections. 

The new site, which includes a WordPress blog, also allows Digital Commonwealth to better update and disseminate information about our activities. In fact, you can read more about the new Omeka site in this recent blog post.

Development Team Report from the BPL: a technical overview of the new Fedora Repository

 Two new programmer hires at the BPL are working full time on the creation of an open- source repository system that will become the future home of Digital Commonwealth. Their report provides a technical overview of the project with some explanation of the Fedora platform being used and its other components such as Hydra and Blacklight.

A limited release is scheduled for mid-April to coincide with the initial public release of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the upcoming Digital Commonwealth annual conference. The full report is available in the Omeka blog.

Celebration planned at the BPL for the public release of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

A two-day series of events is planned at the BPL in mid-April for the initial public release of the DPLA. Highlights in this release will include selections from Digital Commonwealth and the Boston Public Library digital image collections. More information about this event is available here.

Date and Place change for Annual Conference:

May 1, 2013 @ Devens Commons Center

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Digital Commonwealth has been forced to move the conference to Wednesday, May 1 at the Devens Commons Center in Devens, Massachusetts.  Planning is well underway. We hope to announce our keynote speakers soon. Among the sessions being developed are ones on metadata, dealing with vendors, social media, continuing education opportunities for digital curation, and a series of short presentations highlighting some of the projects the Boston Public Library has digitized under the LSTA grant they’ve been administering.

 Special Shout-Out to The Curious Genealogist Blog

Don’t forget to keep in touch with the continuing LSTA/MBLC scanning grant projects at the BPL by reading their blog updates!

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Updates for November, 2012

Digital Commonwealth chosen as “Service Hub” for Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is working to establish the first truly national digital library of the United States. As an initial stage toward accumulating content for its collection, the DPLA has chosen seven regional or state digital repositories as “Service Hubs” from which the DPLA will harvest content. We are proud to announce that the Digital Commonwealth was chosen as one of those Hubs. For information about the DPLA and the Hubs Pilot program, view this announcement on the DPLA website. The page also includes a video presentation by Emily Gore, the DPLA’s first paid staff member.

MIT Communications Forum features Robert Darnton speaking about the DPLA
On November 1, 2012, Robert Darnton, Director of Harvard Libraries, spoke about the vision of the Digital Public Library of America at an MIT symposium “Digitizing the Culture of Print: The Digital Public Library of America and Other Urgent Projects.” Also included on the panel were Ann Wolpert, Director of MIT Libraries, and Susan Flannery, Director of Libraries for the city of Cambridge.

Dr. Darnton serves on the steering committee of the DPLA. As a distinguished scholar of 18th century American and French history, Darnton spoke about the motivation of the DPLA project to extend the democratization of access to knowledge by freely offering not just the choicest publications from imminent research collections but also digitized historical primary source materials.

Emphasizing the democratic nature of the DPLA enterprise, Darnton stressed the motivation to reach and involve people at the grassroots level. He even envisioned the DPLA organizing mobile scan labs he called “scannebagoes” that would go out and help people digitize stuff from their attics. Perhaps that is a bit far fetched, to think of pulling a scanning van in front of someone’s house, but it certainly isn’t fanciful to think of providing personalized services to small community libraries and historical societies. This is indeed a vision shared by the Digital Commonwealth as we partner with the BPL and now the DPLA to broaden access to the rich cultural heritage of Massachusetts too often hidden in small community collections and work toward sharing that historical record with the world.

The DPLA, Darnton explained, now has a staff of eight at the Berkman Center at Harvard plus over a thousand volunteers around the country working toward creating a nonprofit organizational structure. Currently they are actively seeking a director and the best place for their headquarters.

To view Darnton’s presentation along with Wolpert’s and Flannery’s, the complete video has been made available by MIT.

Digital Commonwealth partnership with the Boston Public Library

One year ago the Digital Commonwealth and the Boston Public Library signed a letter of agreement to work together toward creating new state-wide digital services and repository system that would greatly expand and improve the existing Digital Commonwealth structure. So far this partnership has resulted in a second year of free digital scanning services provided by the BPL and funded by generous grants from the MBLC along with a series of free training workshops organized by the Digital Commonwealth. Our DPLA involvement is yet another result of this lucrative partnership. And next year, the BPL will release a new repository system to replace the aging system that the Digital Commonwealth has been using for the past six years.

We will provide updates and details about the new system being developed by the BPL in future newsletter installments. Meanwhile, please read more details about the Digital Commonwealth/BPL partnership available here.

Free Workshop in the Berkshires
Digital Commonwealth is offering another free workshop  on managing digital projects, this time  in the Berkshires at Sage-Bushnell Library in Sheffield on December 13, 2012. There are still plenty of seats available!!

Also in December, seats are still available for the free workshop at Snow Library in Orleans on Cape Cod taking place on Thursday, December 6, 2012.

Both of these workshops are available for FREE to all Digital Commonwealth members, thanks to the generous grant provided by the MBLC to the Digital Commonwealth and Boston Public Library. For more information and registration please view the workshop information web page.

Save the Date for the 2013 Annual Digital Commonwealth Conference
The date has been set for the next annual Digital Commonwealth Conference to be held on Thursday, April 25, at the Cambridge Hyatt Regency. Once again the Digital Commonwealth will be holding its conference in collaboration with the Massachusetts Library Association’s annual conference. We hope to see you there!

Member Votes still  needed to ratify Bylaws revision:

Because the Digital Commonwealth incorporated this year as a nonprofit in Massachusetts, we revised our Bylaws to better suite the requirements of our new status. Three-quarters of the membership must approve the revisions before they can be officially filed with the state. If you haven’t submitted a ballot as yet, please do so as soon as possible. We need your vote!!

Digital Commonwealth is on Facebook!
Check out the many highlights available from Digital Commonwealth collections posted on our Facebook page! Look for us there and ‘like’ us!

All the latest news from the Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

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Updates for October, 2012

Welcome to the new Digital Commonwealth Monthly Newsletter!

We are embarking on an exciting new era with the Digital Commonwealth and look forward to sharing our developments and accomplishments as we establish ourselves as an official non-profit organization and strengthen our partnership with the Boston Public Library as we work together to build a new state-of-the-art Digital Commonwealth repository and portal. We hope that you will enjoy hearing our news every month as this eventful year progresses!

Digital Commonwealth Conference

Planning for the Digital Commonwealth’s annual conference is underway. To be held in late April, 2013 at the Cambridge Hyatt, this day-long meeting will focus on issues relating to creating and maintaining digital collections. If you have a program suggestion, please contact Alix Quan at the State Library of Massachusetts (

Digital Commonwealth Executive Committee Welcomes Four New Members:

We are pleased to announce that the Digital Commonwealth Executive Committee has been joined by four very exciting new members that bring a wealth of highly qualified expertise to the aid of Digital Commonwealth as we undertake exciting new challenges. Please welcome the following new Executive Committee members:

Jessica Collati, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Worcester PolyTech
(formerly Director of Preservation Services, NEDCC)

Ellen Dubinsky, Digital Services Librarian,Bridgewater State University

Ryan Hanson, Assistant Director, Newton Free Public Library

Anne Saurer, Director Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University

Coming Soon: Bylaws Revision

The Digital Commonwealth recently incorporated and is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization. As part of this process, the bylaws are undergoing a thorough revision. The revision will need to be voted on by the membership of Digital Commonwealth before the end of October so they can be submitted to the State Attorney General’s office along with our first corporate annual report. If your organization is a Digital Commonwealth member, please be on the lookout for an email next week regarding an electronic ballot for approving the revised bylaws. We need your vote!

Member Vote to Ratify New Digital Commonwealth Officers:

In addition to the vote for the Bylaws revision, included in next week’s ballot is the need to vote for the new slate of Digital Commonwealth officers. Beginning this fiscal year in July, Joseph Fisher, Database Management Librarian at UMass Lowell, moved into the President’s position of Digital Commonwealth while Karen Cariani, Director of the Media Library and Archives at WGBH, accepted the role of Vice President. Other officers include Anne Saurer as Secretary and Ryan Hanson as Treasurer. Another reminder — please respond to next week’s ballot. We need your vote to ratify these officers for our report to the State Attorney General’s Office.

Digital Commonwealth Committees

As an all-volunteer organization, the Digital Commonwealth is seeking membership participation in its various committees:

Conference (Alix Quan, chair): Plans and publicizes the Digital Commonwealth annual conference.

Development (to be determined): Seeks grant-funding and donations to support the further development of the Digital Commonwealth.

Outreach (Margaret Morrissey, chair): Oversees training and other workshops for Digital Commonwealth members, as well as member relations and promoting the organization.

Portal, Repository, Technology and Standards — PRTS (Jessica Collati, chair): Oversees the current Digital Commonwealth’s portal and repository, as well as detailing metadata and other standards. This committee is also working closely with Boston Public Library staff members on the development of a new portal and repository system based on the Fedora Commons/Hydra repository platform, due to have its initial soft-launch in the spring, 2013, in time for the Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference.

Please contact Digital Commonwealth ( if you are interested in becoming involved in one of these committees.

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Digital Commonwealth is on facebook! Why not look for us there and ‘like’ us!