[May 14/16, 2014] Board and Board Finance Committee Open Calls

Posted by DPLA in May 9, 2014.

The DPLA Board of Directors and its Finance Committee each held a conference call in May 2014:

Finance Committee
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM Eastern

Board of Directors
Friday, May 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM Eastern

Both of these calls were open to the public.


[May 14, 1:00 PM EDT] Board Finance Committee open callPDF


Public session

  • Introductions
  • Discussion of Finance Committee’s purpose and role
  • Comments and suggestions from the public[/wpex]

Board of Directors open call: PDF


  1. DPLAfest 2015
  2. Update from Executive Director
  3. Questions/comments from the public


[May 14, 2014] Board Finance Committee open call:

DPLA Board Finance Committee Call — Notes — May 14, 2014

In attendance

Finance Committee members: Jamie Hollier (absent: Cathy Casserly, Paul Courant, Siva Vaidhyanathan)
Ex-officio members: Dan Cohen, John Palfrey (Committee Chair Casserly is on sabbatical; Palfrey acted as chair in her stead)
DPLA staff: Kenny Whitebloom
Members of the public: Nancy Maron, David Norton 

Executive Director Dan Cohen provided a general overview of DPLA’s current financial standing. All money currently comes in from philanthropic organizations (see: Funding page). Identifying multiple, stable revenue sources is a key priority for the young non-profit; securing grants from philanthropic organizations still remains a priority in the near-term. The organization has expended some of these grant funds, which have different timelines and end dates. Roughly one-third of DPLA’s funds go back out to the hubs in the form of subcontracts for digitization and other services. DPLA currently has eight employees and will likely expand to ten by mid-Summer 2014. Cohen provided an overview of the organization’s burn-rate. DPLA is a lean organization across the board, though Cohen admitted its cloud hosting/storage costs remain higher than he would like. Director of Technology Mark Matienzo is exploring alternatives.

Jamie Hollier said that she has relationships with Rackspace and Amazon Web Services and that she would be willing to explore the possibility of a non-profit discount for DPLA. Cohen encouraged her to do so.

John Palfrey asked Cohen how the Finance Committee could be most useful to him. Cohen said that expanding the circle of funders would be helpful. DPLA is working to build out the map of participating service hubs. Cohen said that the Finance Committee could help by identifying and engaging funders to help support certain pieces of this project. Beyond that, as DPLA moves forward with its grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and hires a Business Development Director, Cohen would like to discuss potential business models with the Committee.

Palfrey opened the floor to questions/comments from the public; none were raised. Palfrey ended the call at 1:20 PM EDT. No executive session was held.[/wpex]

[May 16, 2014] Board of Directors open call:

DPLA Board of Directors Open Call — Notes — May 16, 2014

John Palfrey introduced the idea of DPLAfest, noting that DPLA doesn’t have the same funds that it had in the planning phase for large meetings and events. He framed the discussion around how can DPLA do something that is similarly open and major, but at a lower cost.

Dan Cohen continued the discussion by outlining DPLA staff’s current ideas for the fest: it will move around the country and involve local history and local events; it will be open to all and involve many groups and audiences; it will have participant-proposed sessions in addition to more regular workshops like how to become a hub. DPLA also wants to have events related to the city’s cultural heritage and a hackathon. It will be two days long.

Cohen then presented the executive director’s update:

  • Directly following last month’s board call DPLA celebrated its one-year anniversary with a number of major announcements:
    • 6 new content partners: California Digital Library, Connecticut Digital Archive, U.S. Government Printing Office, Indiana Memory, Montana Memory Project, and The J. Paul Getty Trust
    • Over 7 million items in the collection, nearly triple DPLA’s total a year ago
    • Reduced the threshold for new content hubs from 250,000 items to 200,000
  • Announced partnership with the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida (UF) earlier this week. UF will serve as a content hub, contributing more than 390,000 items, including antique maps, rare books, manuscripts, photographs, oral histories, newspapers, and research publications.
  • Announced the second class of DPLA Community Reps this week, bringing coverage to all 50 states and 4 countries outside the US.
  • Announced that Audrey Altman will be joining DPLA’s growing staff as Technical Specialist, beginning June 1, 2014 in DPLA’s Boston office.
  • DPLA staff held two days of in-person staff meetings to discuss strategy and prioritize next steps.
  • Staff traveled for the first two workshops as part of the Public Library Partnerships Project:
    • 4/16/2014, Digital Commonwealth at Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
    • 5/1/2014, Minnesota Digital Library at Minneapolis Central branch, Hennepin County Library, MN
  • DPLA’s Legal Committee held an open call on May 7 during which it discussed a range of topics, including the joint DPLA-Europeana rights working group, the recent U.S. Copyright Office round-table meeting, and the upcoming US Patent and Trademark Office round-tables on copyright’s first sale doctrine, statutory damages, and remixes.

Carol Pickering asked for an update about E-rate. Cohen noted that he had made three filings and probably will need to make a fourth. He noted that progress had been made in terms of convincing FCC of the value of DPLA as a national network of shared infrastructure, but that there remained hurdles related to the statutes governing the award of funds.

Palfrey asked about an ETA on the strategic plan. Cohen said it would be out in draft form for the board in June and soon thereafter for the general public.

The meeting adjourned at 2:35pm.

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