Content Infrastructure at DPLA Midwest
Libraries need to consistently add content. And finding that content was the focus of the “Content Infrastructure and Digital Hubs Pilot Program” discussion Thursday, October 11, during the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Midwest conference. The two-day event was held at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago to showcase DPLA, a national digital public access library.
“Think of DPLA as a decentralized community-based movement,” said DPLA Director for Content Emily Gore. “The question we are trying to answer is how can communities that want to contribute do so on their own?” Currently, DPLA works off of existing data centers that are hubs for hundreds of other organizations. The organization is working to join with content hubs—large providers like Harvard University or the Smithsonian—to create a more diverse network of data for end users.
Under the Digital Hubs Pilot Project, launched in September, the DPLA will undertake the first effort to establish a national network out of all the information currently available online. This includes content from more than 40 state and regional partners and large content repositories throughout the US, with the goal of pooling the information into a single access point. The two-year program aims to help existing state programs offer DPLA’s harvested data to all institutions in their state or region.
It wasn’t long before the discussion at the conference became a group project. Everyone attending the session collaborated to come up with new themes whose content could be aggregated into the DPLA content system. While many of the ideas related to history, a few, like fan-fiction and general ephemera, appeared to pique attendee interest.
Content restriction became another matter of debate. “It’s hard to be cut-and-dry, because this is community driven,” said Gore. While the goal is to pool as much data as possible from multiple groups, she said for now, DPLA is “starting with institutions and working our way down to the individual through community engagement projects.”
Updated Oct. 25, 2012