DPLAfest 2013: Technology

By Hillary Brady, November 5, 2013.
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While the nearly 20 workshops at this year’s DPLAfest covered a wide range of topics (which you can recap using the conference live notes), a major theme in both presentations and discussions centered around using the DPLA’s API and metadata—specifically, how users can be involved in using that data, while also helping to clean it up in a way that is vetted and accurate. It was a subject that was interwoven into a variety of workshops throughout the day on October 25.

Several sessions explored ways the DPLA, and metadata, might be used for research. A workshop on the topic, Applications for the DPLA in Advanced Research explored ways that research methodology could be applied to DPLA metadata and content via work with the API to create new claims about social and political discourse; create and analyze networks; or create new data visualizations. Participants also explored potential data mining approaches in a separate workshop.

The Tech Demos and Lighting Presentation  and Creative Ways to Build and Extend Metadata workshops discussed the DPLA’s potential use of metadata games, which would help crowdsource the tagging of collections in innovative, fun ways. A workshop on Using Digital Tools to Extend the DPLA and Connect with Local Libraries showcased a number of tools, including Rescarta, to help people manage collections, create metadata, and convert files. There was also a discussion centered around the importance of good metadata creation in aiding the archival process.

The ways that the DPLA can best use and clean-up its metadata became a hands-on component of the fest. During a discussion in the DPLA Local Unconference, Executive Director Dan Cohen tweeted out an idea for a game, similar to Geoguessr, that uses crowdsourcing to identify places and dates of DPLA material. Twitter users following the DPLAfest action started working on it in real time.

Participants in the all-day Hackathon also started work on new, interactive metadata clean-ups as well as an embeddable search widget for DPLA. One project that the group worked on throughout the day was a feedback loop for the DPLA map. This would allow users to spot problems in geolocation and report the issue to the DPLA and its partners to fix. This would help to both create new metadata, while also extending and improving on the metadata already available. These projects are an ongoing part of post-DPLAfest work centered around technology and the use of metadata.

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