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Glossary

Collaboratively created and edited by DPLA Community Reps, Spring 2014

aggregator: A database or website that collects and combines available data from other databases or websites.

API: Stands for “Application Programming Interface.” DPLA’s API allows computer programmers to build new tools with DPLA metadata and content (see the App Library http://dp.la/apps), as well as reusing and remixing DPLA metadata for other websites. At its most basic, an API is made up of a set of defined methods that someone can use to communicate with a (frequently complex) software system, and get back responses in a way that a computer (and, with some practice, a human) can understand. For more information, visit our API Basics.

Contributing Institution: DPLA uses this term to describe a library, archive, museum, or other cultural heritage institution that contributes metadata from its digital collections via a Hub to DPLA.

interoperability: The degree to which software or data play nicely and can seamlessly combine with other software and other sources of data.

hackathon: An organized meeting to build new software quickly. Hackathons may be held face-to-face and/or virtually. DPLA often holds hackathons to introduce coders to its API.

Hub: DPLA uses this term to describe a partner organization that provides essential services and content directly to DPLA. DPLA Hubs make up the distributed national network of content providers that is DPLA. DPLA has two types of hubs: Content Hubs and Service Hubs.

Service Hubs are state or regional digital libraries that aggregate metadata from DPLA Contributing Institutions. Service Hubs also offer their state or regional partners a full menu of standardized digital services, including digitization, metadata assistance, data aggregation and storage services, as well as locally hosted community outreach programs.

Content Hubs are large digital libraries, museums, archives, or repositories that maintain a one-to-one relationship with DPLA. These hubs typically provide more than 200,000 unique metadata records to DPLA and commit to maintaining and editing those records as needed.

linked data/linked open data: Linked data is data carefully structured to be easy to combine with other sources of data. Linked open data provides standardized attributes that make it easier to create and track relationships between items. It has been structured for easy remixing as well as appropriately licensed for reuse. For more information, watch this great video from Europeana about linked open data.

metadata: Information that describes documents or objects so that they can be easily searched for, browsed, and managed. The titles, descriptions, creator information, source information, etc seen on each of DPLA’s digital items are metadata.

open access: Open Access is a principle that scholarly literature, especially peer-reviewed journal articles, should be accessible to the public without fees or gates. The term is also sometimes applied to any digital content available online under clear licensing/copyright terms that allow downloading and reuse. All content in DPLA is open access; some [Example] of it has rights restrictions. DPLA’s metadata is also fully open-access and be used without restriction. For more information about open access and it impact on libraries and publishers, see Peter Suber’s useful definitions.

open source software: Open source software is software whose source code is freely available and licensed for download, use, and editing.

user interface: A user interface (“UI”) is the means by which a person controls a software application or hardware device. A good user interface provides a user-friendly experience, allowing the user to interact with software and hardware in a natural and intuitive way.

web widget: A web widget is a small tool created by one website that can be embedded directly into a completely different website by adding a snippet of code. For example, the DPLA search widget can be added to any website that wants to include a DPLA search box.