ASCLA/ICAN/Collaborative Digitization Interest Group
June 23, 2012, 4:00-5:30 pm
Hyatt Regency Orange County – Harbor Room
Jason Kucsma (Metropolitan New York Library Council), chair of the IG, convened the meeting at which about twenty people were present. Emily Gore (Associate Dean, Digital Scholarship & Technology Services, Florida State University) spoke about the Digital Public Library of America. http://dp.la/ Gore is a convener on the Technical Aspects Workstream for DPLA. The goal of DPLA is to build a national digital library: “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform and empower everyone in the current and future generations.” http://dp.la/wiki/Sign_On
The DPLA established a secretariat at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and has received funding from the Sloan Foundation and Arcadia Fund. They have established a Steering Committee and several workstreams:
- audience and participation
- content and scope
- technical aspects
- legal issues
- financial/business models
Several of the attendees are conveners on one or more workstreams: Rachel Frick (DLF/CLIR and co-chair Content & Scope workstream), Maura Marx (Harvard’s Berman Center and DPLA Secretariat), Robin Dale (LYRASIS and convener Content & Scope workstream).
DPLA has developed code, released in April 2012, which will be built upon for a 2013 initial release. They have held workshops, for example a technology workshop was held in conjunction with the Digital Library Federation meeting. Currently there are three major areas of focus:
- Governance: The goal is to form a 501(c)(3) organization and name a new board.
- Technical aspects: Following the beta code release, the goal is to build out a platform for an April 2013 release.
- Content and scope: DPLA will look to hubs as major content providers; wrangle with metadata in coordination with the Technical aspects workstream to build metadata models and establish partnership agreements; determine the locus of rights management responsibilities. Gore emphasized that, while there are many digital repositories that would like to participate, DPLA is looking at the hub-and-spoke model because they can’t sustain individual relationships with all the contributing repositories. Participant institutions or collaboratives could be part of more than one hub if that is appropriate.
DPLA sent out a survey, for which they have received 19 responses. Although the official deadline has passed, they will be accepting completed responses for a few more weeks. The link is https://harvard.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5C7jeRQseCWTmcc
Gore ended her presentation with some questions for the participants, which prompted a lively discussion.
Q: What are your biggest challenges?
Participants indicated that the biggest challenges are rights, metadata, funding, and technology. LSTA funding is common for digitization projects. There are differences from state to state of what is funded by LSTA. Some states do not spend any of the funds for digitization.
Q: Do you still have a lot of content to digitize?
Participants said they have an overwhelming amount of cultural heritage material to digitize. Institutions and collaboratives need to triage and push the work down to the local level — even to the content creators — as much as possible. Only a few institutions are trying to create content. Institutions need to get collection owners to prioritize materials, suggesting criteria such as identifying items that are at risk, unique or single copy items, and items that support the priorities of the cultural heritage organization. For some, money makes the decision. Cultural heritage organizations have a great deal of unique materials. They need guidance at the local level. A hub of DPLA could help guide such conversations, as well as help organize and describe the collections. We are still looking for that transformative model for digitization of cultural heritage materials, as Google Books was for books and text.
Q: Do you have existing organizational agreements in your collaboratives, or is your structure (and agreements) looser?
Q: Would metadata interoperability be a roadblock to participation in DPLA? What do you need to do to remove those roadblocks?
Participants indicated that metadata interoperability is both a hurdle for collaborative partners to overcome, but also a necessity for the collaborative to succeed.
Gore and other DPLA conveners talked about the need for DPLA in the Age of Google (and other major Internet search engines).
- Not all digital collections are accessible. Some are in dark archives and the metadata is not exposed to search engines.
- DPLA will allow institutions to create their own links to resources. DPLA will be a point of organization and discovery so that institutions do not have to duplicate this effort.
- Collaborations like DPLA will help increase search rankings, making a digital collection or collaboration more Google-Bing-Yahoo friendly.
- Today’s search engines won’t be here a hundred years from now, but initiatives like DPLA will allow us to work on search engine optimization and improve discoverability in the aggregate.
- DPLA participation will require common rules of engagement and open standards such as RDF. Participants will not have to agree, for example, on any particular controlled vocabulary, but will share common schema or data structures. We hope that the benefits of participation will overrule local resistance to change. This seems to be a common pattern, historically, in library cooperation.
DPLA is a framework. It seeks to be a data service, not just another portal. It will permit multiple standards and metadata schemas as long as the data is based on identifiable standards.
DPLA plans a curated exhibit (together with Europeana <http://www.europeana.eu/portal/>), its first, on Immigration.
In response to the questions of whether DPLA is using OAI-PMH or another harvesting standard, it was explained that DPLA is more “push” than “pull”. They are still working out the technical details, but they want DPLA to be “RDF-ie” and “link-ie”, able to use web crawls. While OAI-PMH is based on “do it our way so we can use it”, DPLA wants to send the message, “we can use what you’ve done”.
See the DPLA website for more information: http://dp.la
You can join the dpla listserv, or any of the workstream listservs. Information is on the website.
Lists of statewide digital collaboratives:
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/statememory/