2018-2019 Membership Year Kicks Off with New Partners and Projects

By Samantha Gibson, September 4, 2018.
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Hello, September! With a new month and (almost) a new season, we are excited to also kick off a new membership year at DPLA. DPLA launched its Membership Program last fall and, after a successful and rewarding inaugural year, we are thrilled to welcome new and returning Member Hubs for continued collaboration on our shared priorities and goals.

First and foremost, a warm welcome to all twenty-nine of our Member Hubs, including new Members Digital Commonwealth and Missouri Hub:

  • Big Sky Country Digital Network
  • California Digital Library
  • Connecticut Digital Archive
  • Digital Commonwealth
  • Digital Library of Georgia
  • Digital Library of Tennessee
  • Digital Virginias
  • District Digital
  • Harvard Library
  • Illinois Digital Heritage Hub
  • Indiana Memory
  • Michigan Service Hub
  • Minnesota Digital Library
  • Mississippi Digital Library
  • Missouri Hub
  • Mountain West Digital Library
  • National Archives and Record Administration
  • New York Public Library
  • Ohio Digital Network
  • OK Hub
  • Orbis Cascade Alliance
  • PA Digital
  • Plains to Peaks Collective
  • The Portal to Texas History
  • Recollection Wisconsin
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Sunshine State Digital Network
  • United States Government Publishing Office (GPO)
  • Vermont Green Mountain Digital Archive

Building on a strong foundation

The projects and priorities of the Member Network in 2018-2019 will build on the foundations laid and momentum built during the program’s first year. Since last fall, we established a governance structure for the Member Network, including an Advisory Council, Network Council, and five working groups on assessment, metadata, outreach, technical capacity, and rights statements. Our inaugural Members Meeting in March allowed us to not only engage with our partners and colleagues in person, but to participate in a program of interactive workshops and facilitated conversations developed by Members, for Members.

We have also been busy building new tools specifically designed to meet the needs of our Members. We launched new Analytics Dashboards last month and have developed a beta version of DPLA Local, a customizable search portal interface for Member Hubs’ content, which we expect to unveil in the coming months. In addition to new technologies, we created a webinar series informed by the needs and interests of our partners.

In addition to governance and tools, we have stepped up our core service for our Members too. Great strides were made this year in improving DPLA’s infrastructure for harvesting and transforming partner metadata. During the course of the year we developed a new technology stack for performing these activities, increasing speed, efficiency, flexibility, and consistency. These improvements will allow us to do more work on enhancing and enriching the metadata we receive from our hubs. For more on what this means for our partners, view last month’s webinar. Spurred by our improved ingestion capacity, we were thrilled to see content from five Member Hubs go live in DPLA this year: Sunshine State Digital Network, OK Hub, Ohio Digital Network, District Digital, and Plains to Peaks Collective. With new content from these and other Hubs, DPLA’s collections grew from 17.8 million items a year ago to over 29 million today.

What’s Ahead for 2018-2019

As we turn our attention to the new membership year, we are excited to pick up where we left off. With the Network’s governance structure now well-established, we are prepared to work even more collaboratively with the network to ensure that we are supporting our partners, addressing their needs, and generating solutions to common challenges together. We’re excited to welcome Adrian Turner of California Digital Library to the helm of the Network Council as the incoming chair and express our deep gratitude to Leigh Jeremias of Plains to Peaks Collective for her service as chair during our first year. The incoming Network Council vice chair will be announced later this month. In conjunction with the priorities set by the Network Council, each of the member-led working groups will outline a set of practical goals for 2019.

Governance is only the start. Our webinar series will continue, with sessions on fundraising and innovation in aggregation software already announced for this fall. We’ll also convene our Members in person at DPLAfest 2019 in Chicago this April. As the conference nears, we’ll seek input from our partners on programming and structure of both the fest and the preceding Network Day on April 16. We are also in the process of finalizing a new strategic plan and we look forward to sharing it with the network and our community.

In the next year, we are excited to not only strengthen our network, but to continue to grow it as well. We are already in conversation with partners in Rhode Island, Arizona, New Hampshire, and New Jersey and Delaware about forming new DPLA Hubs and are excited to help steward their application and ingestion processes to bring great new content from these states to DPLA.

Stay tuned for updates on the work of the DPLA Member Network this fall and we look forward to engaging our network and broader community at DPLAfest in April.