Digital Commonwealth’s Partnership with the Boston Public Library

Last fall (November 2011) representatives of the Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Digital Commonwealth) and the Boston Public Library (BPL) signed a letter of agreement stating the intention and commitment of both organizations “to work together towards a shared goal of creating, maintaining and expanding a successful and thriving statewide system to provide access to digital resources found in Massachusetts.”

Since 2007, Digital Commonwealth, a membership-supported collaboration of cultural organizations in Massachusetts, has taken significant steps towards its mission of enabling Massachusetts cultural institutions to create and share digital resources and creating a community of support for participating institutions.  Digital Commonwealth also continues to promote the discovery and use of digital content from the state’s libraries, archives, historical societies, and other cultural institutions, to many audiences

Last fall, within its Library for the Commonwealth program, the Boston Public Library made it clear that it is committed to the development and maintenance of a statewide digital library system as well as the development of a sustainable model for the provision of digital production services for institutions throughout Massachusetts.

The letter of agreement between Digital Commonwealth and the BPL acknowledges that both organizations will share the responsibility of envisioning the functionality of the technical infrastructure, contribute to building a membership base of cultural organizations from all areas of the state, and develop affordable and easy methods for members to share metadata within the statewide system.

The letter of agreement also states that Digital Commonwealth will take the lead on planning outreach activities and conferences and that the BPL will take the lead on developing and maintaining the technological infrastructure, creating user-friendly instructions, and providing some customer service for participating members.

The timing of the partnership between Digital Commonwealth and the BPL is advantageous because Digital Commonwealth’s existing portal and repository ( need to be updated and reworked.  BPL’s repository developers are working on the new system and the plan is for it to be available in spring 2013.  We plan to share updates about the new portal and repository in future newsletters!

When the letter of agreement was written it was acknowledged that the partnership is a work-in-progress.  Over the next couple of months, representatives from Digital Commonwealth’s Executive Committee will be meeting with the appropriate staff of the BPL to review our letter of agreement and work to ensure our partnership is proceeding as smoothly as possible.

Written for the Digital Commonwealth e-newsletter, November 2012

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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.

Connect to Digital Commonwealth on Facebook!

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

Digital Commonwealth presents free training workshop at Snow Library in Orleans, Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Are you looking to digitize a collection, but don’t know where to start? Do you have questions about selection, metadata, and delivering content online? Would you like to work through these issues with experts and discuss these and other digitization topics with colleagues?

The Digital Commonwealth, a statewide collaboration for digital projects, is pleased to announce a workshop to current members and potential members looking to start or enhance their digital collections. The topics covered in the sessions will include: digital project planning, selecting and preparing materials for digitization, and file format and metadata issues, along with opportunities for discussions about projects and Digital Commonwealth.  The program will be presented by Donia Conn, Education and Outreach Coordinator of the NEDCC, on behalf of the Digital Commonwealth.

You can register for this session today at through our online registration system.

Participating in a training session will facilitate the steps required of current Digital Commonwealth member institutions interested in receiving free digitization services (grant funding permitting) from the Boston Public Library.

Please pass this message to any cultural institutions in your area such as: Historical Society, Museum, and Town Clerk who may also be interested.

These training sessions are supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Vivien Goldman is the contact person for this workshop. She can be reached at