As many of you may know, PA Digital has a Metadata Team that works with new and existing contributing institutions to expose digital collections in PA Digital and the DPLA. The team also builds conversations on metadata standards for our DPLA service hub, and generally engages in outreach to institutions all over the state. Many of PA Digital’s contributing institution representatives and community members have already interacted with the PA Digital Metadata Team many times. We would like to spotlight this team’s members, who work together out of several different institutions, and let them tell you why they are passionate about PA Digital. We begin with Doreva Belfiore, Digital Projects Librarian at Temple University Libraries.
Anastasia Chiu, Interviewer (AC): Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, your role with the PA Digital Metadata Team, and your wider role as a project manager for PA Digital?
Doreva Belfiore, Metadata Team Member (DB): I’m a Digital Projects Librarian in the Digital Library Initiatives department at Temple University Libraries in Philadelphia. I manage a team of 3 people that oversee the TUL Digital Library, the digitization of various material formats, and much of the non-MARC cataloging and ingest of digital objects into the repository.
For PA Digital, I serve as a co-manager, and I generally do a lot of the outreach for our project. So you might see me presenting at conferences, conducting webinars and training sessions, and otherwise helping our new constituents get their data into PA Digital and the DPLA. As the frequent first point of contact, I try to shepherd our partners along the way and answer their questions about partner agreements, harvest schedules, metadata standards and testing and other needs. I also help out with back-office work for the project, such as meeting scheduling, documentation and required grant paperwork.
Outside of my primary job, I am a volunteer Community Rep for the DPLA, so I have done introductory presentations about the Digital Public Library of America geared towards members of the public. If you are interested in having someone talk to your group about the DPLA, please contact me via PA Digital at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a member of the PA Digital Metadata Team, and I often chair team meetings, making sure that all of the data testing and harvesting is happening on schedule to support our quarterly data ingests into the DPLA. I am one of the liaisons to the PA Digital Developers Team, so I attend regular meetings where I help to ensure that our 3 open-source Hydra [DPLAH GITHUB] data aggregators [PROD] are functioning up to code specifications, and that they can be modified or enhanced when we have new repository types to support. You can often find me reviewing harvested contributor metadata, testing aggregator features, participating in orientation calls for new institutions, making presentations about metadata standards and normalization, or staffing one of our virtual office hours where we answer metadata questions. Come talk to us or email us anytime! We love metadata and are happy to talk to everyone and anyone about it. Don’t worry if you are not experienced in creating metadata, or even if you don’t know what metadata is. Here is a nice introductory video that explains metadata in under 5 minutes:
AC: Do you have any favorite items or collections that are currently in PA Digital and the DPLA? (It’s ok, we all have favorites!)
DB: As the co-manager I can’t really have favorites! Thinking about Temple University’s collections, while I can’t have a favorite either, I really enjoy looking at the Vietnam Nôm Manuscripts Field Digitization Project and the John W. Mosley Photographs.
AC: What role do you see PA Digital playing for cultural heritage institutions all over Pennsylvania?
DB: I see PA Digital as being an amazing conduit for discoverability of digital materials from Pennsylvania’s cultural heritage institutions. It provides global exposure for our partner’s excellent digital content and the potential for reuse in many contexts, especially for education. The more we can promote our state’s cultural and historical materials, advocate for and support our institutions, the better.
AC: What is your favorite aspect of working with the Metadata Team?
DB: I really enjoy collaborating with my excellent colleagues to help advise and guide new participants into PA Digital and the DPLA. We have a lot of fun, and learn a lot, when we are on orientation calls, virtual office hours, webinars and presentations together. I hope you get to meet them in person, on the phone, or via interviews on this blog!
AC: What are you looking forward to in the Metadata Team’s work over the next grant year?
DB: I’m really looking forward to bringing on many new partner institutions, and to be able to support additional repository platforms such as Islandora, Hydra, Artstor Shared Shelf, and Past Perfect Online. We are in line to surpass 200,000 records ingested into the DPLA and I would love to see us get to 300,000 next year if we can.
AC: What general advice do you have for folks who are considering exposing their collections to the Digital Public Library of America through PA Digital?
DB: Don’t be afraid to share your digital records with PA Digital, the DPLA, or for that matter other data aggregators! Our Metadata Team has a great deal of collective knowledge of MARC and non-MARC metadata standards as well as multiple repository platforms. We all, Metadata team included, have messy data and we recognize that cleaning and normalizing metadata is an ongoing, iterative process. It’s time well invested that will pay off in the long run, aiding in the discovery of your institution’s materials by patrons all over the world. Talk to us! We are happy to guide you.
AC: Thanks so much for your insight and advice, Doreva!