Last week you were introduced to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Because the DPLA is so unique, I wanted to share a little more about it.
But first – a few points of clarification.
What is the DPLA again? The DPLA digitally connects “America’s archives, libraries, and museums” and make them available to the public (dp.la).
Yet, the DPLA is different from traditional libraries in that it does not actually host the digital files or even store the digital files presented on its site. Instead, the “DPLA is an all-digital library that aggregates metadata about digital objects held by libraries, museums, and archives around the country. “ (dp.la). For example, if you search Helen Keller’s bathing suit, you’ll see a thumbnail of the image along with the item’s metadata. But, when you click “view object,” you are directed to the SAILS Library Network, the institution that hosts artifact and its information. Here are screen shots of both the DPLA and SAILS’ presentation of the bathing suit.
So, after understanding what the DPLA does, we can consider how items end up on the DPLA website.
Well, the DPLA staff works with its associated content and service hubs located around the country. According to the DPLA,
“Service Hubs aggregate data on behalf of a given state or region. Each Service Hub offers a full menu of standardized digital services to local institutions, including digitization, metadata consultation, data aggregation and storage services, as well as locally hosted community outreach programs that bring users in contact with digital content of local relevance.
Content Hubs are large digital libraries, museums, archives, or repositories that maintain a one-to-one relationship with DPLA. Content Hubs as a general rule have more than 200,000 unique metadata records to contribute to DPLA, and they commit to maintaining and editing those records as needed.”
In considering how this relates to the FBCWP project, it is important to understand both types of hubs. For our purposes, the closest content hub is located at the University of Florida as part of the George A. Smathers Digital Library. The closest service hub is located in Georgia as part of the Digital Library of Georgia. So, while the content hub is closer to central Florida, we would actually need to connect with a service hub to get the digitized scans of the scrapbooks online. But, before we could connect with a service hub, we would need to have a partnership with an institution willing to host our images (like the Winter Park Library, or RICHES MI). As it stands, the DPLA does not host any items from RICHES or the Winter Park Library. Personally, I think the DPLA would benefit immensely from a partnership with RICHES and all of its digitized items. But, until there’s a service hub established in FL, UCF would have to reach out to the service hub in Georgia to get its digitized items online with the DPLA. Perhaps, maybe one day, RICHES could coordinate with other libraries in the central Florida area and apply to become a service hub. Wouldn’t that be cool?