Our Inaugural Members Meeting

By John Bracken, March 12, 2018.
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This is an exciting week for us at DPLA: for the first time, we’re convening our network of member organizations. This week’s gathering, which will be co-hosted by the Digital Library of Georgia and Georgia State University, is the manifestation of a program we launched last fall to ensure that our work is grounded in and informed by the reality of the work of our community-based partners. (As of now, that includes 27 network members representing over 3,000 organizations.)

For the first time, we’ll sit down in a room and begin to plan for the future together. We at DPLA will share our work, but more importantly we see this as an opportunity to listen. We built the meeting program with our members. We’ve designed it to be practical. Three broad topics kept coming up as we prepared for the meeting:

  • Impact: how do we understand, measure, and talk about the how our work benefits communities? What do we need to do differently to expand that impact?
  • Audience: what do we know about who uses, and doesn’t use, our material? How and why do they find us?
  • Sustainability: how do we pay for our work?

The convening is just the first. Going forward, we will be building structures that will enable us not just to talk with one another, but to design and build shared tools and practices that advance the goals of the entire network. At DPLA, we have the unique privilege to be charged with connecting a range of activities across the country. We can’t know how just yet, but by the end of the meeting, both we and the network of which we are part will be further along in that work. We’ll be sharing what we learned, and much of the content of the meeting, in the days ahead.