We received nearly 40 submissions to our summer 2011 Beta Sprint, an open call for code and concepts defining how the DPLA should operate. After careful deliberation, the Beta Sprint Review Panel recommended six Beta Sprint submissions to present at our October 2011 plenary meeting in Washington, DC, and an additional three Beta Sprint submissions to present “Lightning Round” talks.
Digital Collaboration for America’s National Collections
The first Beta Sprint presentation was the Digital Collaboration for America’s National Collections, a collaborative project submitted by the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives. Martin Kalfatovic, Pam Wright, and Chin Sing Yun presented.
The main purpose of this Beta Sprint project was to demonstrate how these three large institutions could work cooperatively and collaboratively together. By using small sets of existing records from the Library of Congress and the National Archives, they developed a system to ingest those records into the Smithsonian’s Collections Search Center. They accomplished this through a “data scrubbing” process which standardized common terms across various standards and matched overly specific terms to relevant broader terms. By using a large database of matches and exceptions, they were able to process the different metadata attached to each record into a single dynamic, extensible metadata schema modeled off of the Smithsonian’s Enterprise Digital Asset Network (EDAN). After this metadata “scrubbing”, the data was ingested into a centralized search index and metadata repository. This not only allows these records to be found in the Smithsonian’s Collections Search Center, but also allows for various web services to utilize the indexed data.
CLIR-DLF / IMLS DCC Beta Sprint
The second Beta Sprint presentation was the CLIR-DLF / IMLS DCC Beta Sprint, from CLIR: Digital Library Federation and the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, with Rachel Frick and colleagues presenting.
The CLIR-DLF / IMLS DCC team started their DPLA prototype by combining several existing data collections and aggregations, most notably the IMLS Digital Content and Collections (DCC) and the Opening History collection. The DCC provides a single point of access for all of the digital content that is funded by the IMLS, while the Opening History collection expands beyond just those programs funded by the IMLS. The final product produced by this team is a working prototype website that allows users to search across this “collection of collections” that represents over 1400 cultural heritage collections with over a million items from all across the United States. This is accomplished by centralizing and indexing metadata from all these collections and then linking back to the host institution/organization for item descriptions and images.
The third Beta Sprint presentation was ExtraMUROS. A project of the metaLAB at Harvard, extraMUROS is an interactive multi-media library based on the open-source HTML5 Zeega platform. Jeffrey Schnapp and Kara Oehler presented.
ExtraMUROS connects online holdings from libraries, museums, heritage institutions, archives, and other media repositories such as YouTube and Flickr, and then allows users to explore that content, create and curate their own collections, and then share those collections with others. To do this, ExtraMUROS doesn’t rely so much on keyword searches and traditional means of navigating search results and collections, but instead focuses on finding visually intuitive means of navigation and display, such as media thumbnails and graphically represented facets. To quote Jeffrey Schnapp, “[extraMUROS seeks] to make the DPLA a participatory public space where users don’t just search and retrieve records, but rather engage in individual and collective acts of making and doing.”
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