What is PA Digital?

 

Pennsylvania_Map
James H. Young. Pennsylvania (Map). 1831. Palmer Museum of Art of The Pennsylvania State University

Libraries, historical societies, museums, and related cultural heritage institutions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contain cultural heritage historical collections of great depth and richness. The mission of PA Digital is to make the digital collections of the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage institutions widely discoverable.

PA Digital was announced as a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub in August 2015. Participating in the DPLA will enhance discovery of and access to Pennsylvania cultural heritage content, thus broadening its use and impact worldwide.  As technologies and partnerships develop, PA Digital Partnership will continue to expand ways in which the unique cultural heritage collections of Pennsylvania are made available to the widest audience.  

Our collections went live in DPLA on April 13, 2016.

 

This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives: Our Partnership with Local Community Organizations

Headshot, Martina Soden

 

This guest blog post was written by Martina Soden, Collection/Metadata Manager of the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives

 

Scranton Public Library takes a large role in our community in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  We have a strong competent, skilled staff who jump at the chance to create or organize something first.  In 2008 the Scranton Public Library wrote and received an LSTA grant to create a group to look at and think about creating an online digital collection of items.  A small group of local historical societies, museums and government groups were invited to attend.  With the help of Lyrasis, these organizations determined that the period of 1850-1865 was perfect for all the parties.

This partnership includes The Lackawanna Historical Society, the Anthracite Heritage Museum, The Scranton Times-Tribune, Steamtown National Historic Site, the University of Scranton Weinberg Library, and the Scranton Public Library. While we were unable to get a second LSTA grant to fund the digitization and creation of the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives, we were able to receive funds from an outside funding organization.  These funds were used to scan many documents, and buy the software and license to ContentDM.  Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives was created and since this first collection we have added nine new collections using our connections with our original partners.  Please visit us at http://content.lackawannadigitalarchives.org/cdm or find our items on the Digital Public Library of America at https://dp.la/.

Book cover, This is Waverly by Mildred Mumford

 

PA Digital Virtual Office Hours

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In July, PA Digital’s Metadata Team began regular Virtual Office Hours. Inspired by instructors in our previous educational environments, we offer Virtual Office Hours as time and space for open conversation and information-sharing on digital collections and participation in PA Digital & the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The sessions are not recorded.

In Virtual Office Hours, we hope to hear questions and thoughts that our partners and potential partners from all over Pennsylvania have about the entire process of bringing digital collections to PA Digital and the DPLA. This includes not only steps for already-digitized collections, but also steps as early as planning digitization and creating metadata practices. We would also love to hear about what works and what doesn’t work for our partners in local contexts.

We will announce details (including dates, times, and direct links) of Virtual Office Hours regularly in several places:

We hope to hear from you soon!

(Image credit: Mark Moz, https://www.flickr.com/photos/106574022@N04/10797544894)

Resources for Getting Started with Digitization

We recognize that one of the greatest obstacles of bringing cultural heritage collections into digital spaces like PA Digital and the DPLA is the large step of initial digitization, including forming a plan and a workflow for digitization, and executing them. Here are a few select resources that can help your institution’s digitization planning and implementation. The concise list appears at the end of this post.

Planning & Workflow

Recently, the DPLA offered a digital projects training program (the Public Library Partnerships Project), and its self-guided curriculum remains available, along with a gallery of projects completed by participants. This curriculum introduces guidelines and topics for planning new digitization projects. Additionally, Franky Abbott (DPLA), Jennifer Birnel (Montana Memory Project), and Sarah Hawkins (East Central Regional Library), also presented a webinar on the topic for TechSoup, based on their collaborations within the Public Library Partnerships Project:

 

For financial planning stages, the Digital Library Federation’s Assessment Interest Group recently developed and released a Library Digitization Cost Calculator, currently in beta. Once you can roughly determine the total cost of a project of interest, it becomes a little easier to determine what grants you can apply to; there are many out there, including CLIR’s Hidden Special Collections and Archives competition, and multiple grants from the NEH such as Common Heritage, Humanities Open Book, and more.

Hardware & Hosting (In-State!)

Within Pennsylvania, the State Library offers a lending program for their portable tabletop Scribe Scanner. Our partners at the University of Scranton and Scranton Public Library engaged in a great community project with it; you can also read more about the scanner’s specifications here and here. The loan application process for the State Library’s Scribe Scanner is as follows:

Additionally, our partner HSLC via the POWER Library offers PA Photos and Documents, a content management and hosting service that doubles as a union catalog. That is to say, POWER Library aggregates participant collections together in a searchable database, and provides the hosting and content management service to participants for free or very low cost (contingent on some guidelines). The application to participate is available online.

Format & Metadata Guidelines

The Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) has drafted some general guidelines and  resources on digitization and digital-object metadata, including standards (like their Digital Imaging Standards), as well as explorations of specific topics, (like their file format comparisons).

If your institution’s goals include exposing your digital materials in the Digital Public Library of America, we at PA Digital are very happy to help! We suggest that you take a look at our PA Digital Readiness guidelines and our metadata guidelines, and feel free to email (info@padigital.org) or tweet (@PADigitalNews) the PA Digital team with any questions.

Concise List

Planning & Workflow

Hardware & Hosting

Format & Metadata Guidelines

More?
Please share any other resources that you may know of with the PA Digital community in the comments below!

Webinar Report: RightsStatements.org

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Three categories of rights statements at RightsStatements.org

On May 10 & 17, 2017 Emily Gore (DPLA) and Greg Cram (NYPL) presented a two-part webinar on RightsStatements.org, a joint initiative of DPLA and Europeana that provides standardized rights statements for cultural heritage institutions and aggregators to apply to digital objects. RightsStatements.org was launched on April 14, 2016, and currently provides 11 statements for institutions to use for sharing usage rights status of their digital objects.

In the first half of “RightsStatements.org: Why We Need It, What It Is (and Isn’t) and What Does It Mean for the DPLA Network and Beyond?” (5/10/2016),  Emily and Greg spoke about the background and philosophy behind RightsStatements.org’s creation. They pointed out the vast variety of statements currently describing digital objects, and the potential for users to be confused or misled regarding restrictions in using the objects; they also covered a basic primer on copyright and fair use.

The second half of the webinar (5/17/2016) focused on the statements themselves, which are separated into three types: In Copyright, No Copyright, and Other. Emily and Greg covered each of the 11 statements (and a potential 12th addition), and described the difference between rights statements (which institutions may apply) and the licensing tools of Creative Commons (which, aside from the public domain mark, only original copyright holders may apply). They also spoke about implementation of the rights statements in the DPLA, noting that the overall goal is to let users “know, as accurately as possible, what they can and cannot do with materials that they find,” and acknowledging that the work of implementation will require some time and resource-intensive work.

The presentation slides from the webinar have been made available on the DPLA website, as well as detailed Q&A from questions submitted by webinar participants.

Further Reading

International Rights Statements Working Group (2016), “Rightsstatements.org White Paper: Recommendations for Standardized International Rights Statements.”

DPLA (2016), “Announcing the Launch of RightsStatements.org,” DPLAblog.

Sarah Shreeves (2016), “Clarity for Our Users,” In the Open.

PA Digital Records Now Live in the DPLA

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Birth Certificate (Geburtsschein) for Rhoda Slack, Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Books Collection, frk00165

A little over a year and a half ago, the PA Digital Founders Group first met in Philadelphia to discuss the potential for a Pennsylvania hub for the Digital Public Library of America. As of April 13, 2016, Pennsylvania content has been live on the DPLA site, with a total of 131,651 records representing 19 contributing institutions, 2 intermediate providers [aggregators] and 86 collections.

You can see all of PA Digital‘s records in the DPLA by searching or faceting on our name PA Digital:
PA Digital Records in the DPLA

Alternately, you can search the DPLA and then facet by the Partner ‘PA Digital’.

Please note that additional data enhancement will occur in the next few months. At this point, geographic information has not yet been enhanced, and all records may not show accurately in the map or timeline interface.

This is a wonderful showing for our first ingest into the DPLA.  Thank you to all of the institutions that contributed to our efforts, and congratulations, Pennsylvania!

We look forward to bringing onboard more institutions and more content from current contributors within the coming year.

For information about our project, or about how you can participate in PA Digital and the DPLA, please email anytime to info@padigital.org .