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October 11, 2012

[dpla] DPLA looking good

After attending today’s working meeting of the DPLA (I’m unable to attend tomorrow’s more public-facing session), I’m quite encouraged. The DPLA is now in execution mode, and I believe the pieces are in place.

The Content workstream is well along in securing a range of content, including heritage collections and copyright-free books from the Internet Archive and Hathi Trust. The processes and relationships required for accessing and maintaining the metadata are well along.

The Tech workstream is in very good hands. Jeff Licht is heading it up, and there are external groups working on the required pieces for ingesting metadata, normalizing it, and presenting it through a prototype front end. The Tech team is following roughly the architecture that we’d prototyped Jan-April, and while there are daunting problems — getting the various types of metadata talking to one another, and weighting it so that the results reflect user desires, just to take two — I’m confident it’s going to work well and scale.

And the Governance group is well along in turning this open-edged movement into a an organization built for the long-term. The Board is looking great, there is a search for an Executive Director, and it’s going to be a flexible and responsive organization.

Definitely on track.

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[dpla] DPLA afternoon session

It’s the end of the workstream day of the DPLA Midwest meeting. Each of the three workstream meetings is reporting back to the general group.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.


Emily Gore from the Content stream: What kind of guidance should we develop for interested content providers? The group wants to have a strategic collection development plan draft by the end of December. “What is our role with regard to advocacy” for content currently under copyright? Also, the group talked about the hub pilot project. Various participants in that pilot were in the room.


SJ Klein from the Technical workstream: There was a lively discussion this afternoon, primarily about the design of the front end. How to make the frontend experience help people become contributors? They also talked about the Chatanooga hackathon Nov. 8-9. Tools for making working with metadata easier. Packaging tools that match potential contributors with a hub. Metadata purgatory for metadata that has been contributed but doesn’t meet the standards.


Maureen Sullivan and John Palfrey report on the Governance group: The next steps are to take the barebone by-laws and flesh them out. There were many discussions about whether DPLA the 501(c)(3) should be a membership organization, but the general consensus is no. (Paul Courant made the point that many institutions shy away from becoming members because that makes them liable.) Rather, it would be good to have participation from groups and people with specific areas of expertise. There was a lot of energy about expanding on the statement of principles, including adding an explicit commitment to accessibility. There was strong support for continuing to see the DPLA as a public/private enterprise. John Bracken made the point that DPLA should view itself as a network, not as a heavyweight organization.


Maureen points out that the workstreams have converged. She says that “contributor” seems to be a better word than “member.” We need to be flexible about how people will come together to do the work that’s required. And we should be thinking of ourselves as advocates, a force for change to improve the lives of people in this country and around the world.

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[dpla] DPLA opening session

Today is the first day of the third national plenary of the Digital Public Library of America. We’re in the Chicago Public Library where Brian Bannon has welcomed us. Brian is Chicago’s new Library Commissioner, and I am a huge fan.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

John Palfrey, the chair of the DPLA, tells us that what makes him happiest about the DPLA meeting is the wide range of people who continue to work on the project. He tells us that this is the first time the DPLA has live-streamed the workstream day; tomorrow is the big public confab. (Hashtag: #dplamidwest.) JP tells us that the DPLA is working across workstreams; the meetings today are not focused on workstreams but topics.


One session will be on content. JP reminds us that Emily Gore is working fulltime on acquiring content. That session is going to talk about strategic planning, and about the digital hubs pilot project that is under development. (The hubs project apparently will give access to the Hathi Trust and Internet Archive, which means there will be books in the DPLA!) JP tells us that there are two federal funders and one not-yet-announced private funder.


The second simultaneous group is the technical workstream. Martin Kalfaltovic, SJ Klein and Jeffrey Licht.


The third is on the future of the DPLA with JP and Maureen Sullivan.


JP announces that the the DPLA non-profit org is on the way. He also congratulates PAul Courant of the Hathi Trust for the judicial decision yesterday. JP asks how we can keep the DPLA’s inclusiveness and openness even as it moves to a more formal structure.


“This is the last of the entire days to roll up your sleeves and figure out what the ‘it’ is before we launch the ‘it’ in April 2013,” JP says.

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