My first eight weeks: A warm welcome and lots of events

By Dominic Byrd-McDevitt, December 7, 2023.
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Dear Colleagues,

As I approach my eighth week in this role, I write with an update on what I’ve been up to and where some of our projects stand as we wrap up 2023. 

I have spent many hours over the past two months reaching out to and chatting with many of you. In these last few weeks I have met with the representatives from over 15 hubs and participated in the meetings of every working group. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time so far to talk with me about your hubs’ goals, needs, and organizational histories—as well as all of your insights on DPLA strategy in this important moment in our history. I left these conversations with an even deeper respect for the work all of you do to make digital collections accessible. I recognize that all the work that takes place in the hubs and institutions is a vital part of DPLA’s foundation that makes products like aggregation possible.

As you are likely aware, our fall at DPLA was chock full of programming. I know it can be difficult to make time for synchronous online events, so I wanted to make sure you were aware that there are recordings available for the following events, all of which are full of useful, practical information and recommendations from our fellow DPLA’ers:

Please also take a look at the Metadata Working Group’s DPLA Metadata Best Practices Report and the Digital Curation Task Force’s DPLA Digital Curation Guidelines, published in August and September respectively, both of which were the product of many months of dedicated work from those groups. If you attended (or view the recording of) “Teaching and Learning with DPLA Resources,” you are invited to fill out this quick feedback survey about it. And stay tuned in the new year (details will be listed on our Events page soon!) for a case study from Indiana Memory on their Wikimedia work on January 25; a Collaborating for Access session on Libraries and Indie Authors on February 1; an OpenRefine tutorial, courtesy of our Outreach and Assessment Working Group, on February 7; and a whole series of webinars on timely topics being coordinated by the Metadata Working Group.

As some of you know, I spent some time before Thanksgiving in Toronto for WikiConference North America 2023, and then in Montevideo, Uruguay, for the 2023 GLAM Wiki Conference. I traveled to Toronto with three Indiana librarians to co-present on our work building partnerships around digital collections and Wikipedia, using DPLA’s tools and local funding. I also co-presented another talk with one of our most prolific Wikimedia Commons volunteer editors, who works with Seattle Public Library collections, to raise awareness about our millions of uploads to that platform. In all, I gave 4 presentations in 2 days, with other talks about DPLA’s work to improve image metadata and discoverability on Wikipedia. 

While in Montevideo, I led a session about DPLA’s Digital Asset Pipeline and our work to upload more than 4 million digital collections images from DPLA to Wikimedia Commons. I also represented the U.S. at the “GLAM Around the World” case study sessions. 

I came away from these trips feeling energized by learning about all the exciting work happening in our field, connecting with so many users and stakeholders outside of our hub network, and hearing from so many other institutions around the world who are looking to what we are doing at DPLA as a model. Here at DPLA, our Wikimedia work is continuing to grow, and I invite you to reach out to me or the Wikimedia Working Group if you are interested in getting started. We also hold monthly Wikimedia Office Hours, which is an open meeting you can join without prior appointment, and will be held at a new time (starting Dec. 12) on the second Tuesday of every month from 2-3p ET. Here’s the link to join.

I wish you all a happy holiday season and hope you are able to find the time to relax and spend time with loved ones after all the hard work of this year. 


Dominic Byrd-McDevitt

Interim Director of Community Engagement

DPLA’s Wikimedia work is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Wikimedia Foundation