January 19, 2017 by missylodge
The Digital Public Library of America is coming to Ohio. The State Library of Ohio received notification from DPLA in October 2016 approving a service hub for Ohio. And, thus, the Ohio Digital Network became a reality.
So what is the Digital Public Library of America? DPLA is a digital portal that brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. Per their website: DPLA is: A portal that delivers students, teachers, scholars, and the public to incredible resources, wherever they may be in America. A platform that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. and, An advocate for a strong public option in the twenty-first century.
Getting to this point was a lengthy process. Leaders of Ohio’s library and cultural heritage community began investigating the development of a DPLA Service Hub for Ohio in 2014. In 2015 a planning grant was awarded to Columbus Metropolitan Library to work with consultants (The Bishoff Group), a 15 member steering committee, and six working groups on how a DPLA Service Hub in Ohio might look. A range of activities were implemented, including a statewide survey, a symposium, research and recommendations of the working groups and monthly meetings of the steering committee. The State Library submitted an application to DPLA in August 2016 and heard of approval in October.
Now that Ohio has been accepted as a service hub, work is beginning on the process to share our state’s content with DPLA and the rest of the world. The first steps in the timeline have been realized: staff have been hired and a governance structure is in place. This includes three working groups – Technology, Metadata, and Advocacy – who will soon be reaching out for individuals to serve on these important teams. The next major step is to initiate the installation of REPOX. Ohio DPLA staff are set to begin working with the 30+ institutions whose digital materials will be the first harvested; this includes communicating requirements for metadata and harvesting. A webinar for those institutions will occur in the next month or so. The goal is to have the first harvest of 50,000 records completed by the end of the year. Marketing to future content providers as well as users are also key components to be realized during year one.
So, what can you do now? If you are not familiar with DPLA, spend some time exploring the website, https://dp.la/. At the website you can discover 15,247,823 items from libraries, archives, and museums. Users can browse and search DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, visual bookshelf, format, and topic. You can also explore digital exhibitions curated by DPLA’s content partners and staff. And although Ohio institutions are not yet represented in DPLA, there is content available about Ohio people, places, and things. DPLA is already a tool librarians can use in programming and exhibits.
Secondly, become an advocate for the Ohio Digital Network to help ensure that it becomes a valuable resource for Ohioans and researchers. And, think about what content you have at your institution that you feel would be an important collection or item to be represented in DPLA.