Rachel Appel, Doreva Belfiore, Gabe Galson, and I attended the first DPLA Members Network Meeting held in Atlanta, GA. Including PA Digital, 23 of 27 member hubs were represented at the meeting, which provided us the opportunity to chat with other attendees about our ideas, goals, projects, questions, challenges, and successes.
The first day consisted of updates from the DPLA team, including a welcome from new DPLA Director John Bracken, who set the tone for the meeting by asking questions for us to consider around our audiences and our impact. Other members of the DPLA team provided updates on ongoing work around curatorial projects, rights statements applications, QA practices, and analytics. We learned that the DPLA has 141 Primary Source Sets available on their website, which comprise 30-35% of traffic to the DPLA during the school year. DPLA also has 33 exhibits currently, which represents 15-20% of traffic to DPLA. I was interested in these because we are in the midst of creating our own Primary Source Sets at PA Digital, and I was interested in not only how the DPLA went about creating these, but how they measured their impact.
Another highlight of the first day was nine lightning talks covering a variety of projects spearheaded by hubs, ranging from metadata aggregation in Michigan to geospatial mapping in Minnesota to connecting LIS students into cultural heritage institutions in Wisconsin. Rachel and I were able to present on the Primary Source Sets project too!
Our talk, Primary Source Set Sorcery, gave an overview of our approach to creating primary source sets (disclaimer: no sorcery was actually performed). We received positive feedback from hubs who have already created Primary Source Sets or were working towards it. We’re looking forward to updating you on this project more soon! (You can also find our slides here.)
The second day of the meeting included sessions and workshops in areas such as rights statements, outreach, networking, repository challenges, partner recruitment, and building hubs. I attended a workshop on rightsstatements.org with Greg Cram from the NYPL and Emily Gore from the DPLA who walked us through the three major categories of rightsstatements.org: In Copyright, No Copyright, and Other, with really helpful examples of what a good rights statement looks like, as well as some confusing ones. This is something we have been actively working on at PA Digital and it was great for me to see how Greg and Emily taught us so we can continue educating ourselves and our contributing institutions on how to properly apply rights information to their collections.
Some of the sessions around outreach and partner recruitment allowed hubs to share approaches that have worked for them as well as some challenges that we all face. One of the challenges that resonated with me was how to reach out to unique types of institutions and/or users and how do we measure the impact we have. For example, one challenge that many hubs related to was connecting with institutions across large states. An obstacle we are working on is making connections with institutions in Central and Western Pennsylvania, while I am based at Temple University, all the way out east in Philadelphia. I heard from many other hubs who have staff centralized in one part of the state who don’t know where to start in reaching out to others further away. Many others hubs do a lot of work to keep up with local conferences, listservs, and following up with their connections from all over their state. This is something we will continue to improve on, and if you’re reading this and interested in working with us, email us!
Having a community of peers to connect with around these issues and questions was really helpful and PA Digital is excited to continue participating in these events. Thanks for hosting us, DPLA!