Content Hub Application

Content Hub 2015 Cycle 1 Application


The Digital Public Library of America seeks applicants to serve as Content Hubs in DPLA’s growing national network. The deadline for submission of applications is Friday, January 16, 2015. Hubs will be selected by February 2, 2015, and will be expected to begin working with DPLA staff immediately following the selection process to formalize the partnership and begin the process of ingesting metadata.

Content Hubs are large repositories in the US with over 200,000 items that have a one to one relationship with DPLA, and the goal of DPLA is to eventually include all of those repositories as part of our aggregation. Currently, there are fourteen active Content Hubs and five in development across the United States. This program will continue to advance our goal of providing access to “the full breadth of human expression.”

Current DPLA Content Hubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many Content Hubs are format- or topic-based collections. For example, the J. Paul Getty Trust provides access to fine art collections, the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) offers federal government documents, and the Smithsonian makes a variety of museum content available. Some, like the University of Southern California and The New York Public Library, are single institutions with large collections of openly available digital content in various formats. Others, including HathiTrust and the Internet Archive, are large sub-aggregators or hosts of partner content and their partnerships may or may not grow over time.

There is no one-size-fits-all model for Content Hubs, but there are some emerging trends. These include collections that exceed 200,000 records from single institutions, large-scale aggregators, or hosts of partner content. The collections are administered by a single institution, share their content through a single data source, and, in the case of sub-aggregated or hosted collections, have a governance model that may or may not include their partners.

Content Hub TimelineContent Hubs responsibilities

Content Hubs play an important role in the DPLA network. Their large data sets offer DPLA an efficient method for aggregating massive collections of important digital cultural heritage content. They bring together metadata that resolves to digital objects (online texts, photographs, manuscript material, artwork, etc.) from libraries, historical societies, archives, museums and other cultural heritage institutions—either their own or by aggregating or hosting these resources on behalf of partners. Content Hubs standardize and share metadata and content previews (thumbnails, etc.) through a single data source, and actively address metadata concerns (including copyright and licensing labeling) to enrich sharing and usability. Initial collections contain 200,000 or more item- or series-level records from a single institution or a collaborative, and partnerships may or may not grow over time. Sometimes, Content Hubs provide access to collections scoped by format or topic (as with the GPO above).

Selection criteria

Applications should be completed as fully as possible, and contain sufficient details for DPLA to understand sustainability and ongoing growth, partnership structure (if applicable), and technology infrastructure and data workflows.

What happens after selection?

In early February, institutions will be notified of acceptance. At that time, new Service Hubs will be provided with an informational packet that contains several documents, including the following.

  1. Data Exchange Agreement (DAE). This binding document must be signed before DPLA can ingest a Service Hub’s metadata. It typically takes about a month to complete this process. If the document is not signed within a month, other new Service Hubs will be granted priority of service from DPLA staff.
  2. Metadata, Tech, and Content form. This document provides the DPLA data and technology staff with information they need to begin working with a new Service Hub’s metadata.

Once both of these forms are completed, it typically takes four to eight weeks (depending on the current state and complexity of a Service Hub’s metadata) for the new collection to move to production. For more about this process see


View Content Hub Application Questions (pdf)