Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Life as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America

by admin

by Tom Blake

With millions upon millions of items to potentially digitize at the BPL, you would think we would have enough on our plates. But, in our role as a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub, we have taken on the digitization of collections across the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any library, archives, museum, historical society, or other cultural heritage institution in the state is eligible for this service. We have already been engaged by over 150 different institutions seeking our help get their collections digitized and made available online.

Although it might seem strange or even imprudent to take on such a task in a day when resources can be stretched thin, we believe that extending our state-of-the-art digitization services beyond our walls significantly increases the value of our own collections.

06_01_002590.LARGEThe works of Lowell Mason are a perfect example. Boston Public Library’s music department holds significant materials by this turn of the century composer and teacher, and these materials are critical in understanding the history of public music education. The Lowell Mason Foundation, a small nonprofit organization based in Medfield, requested our services to have complementary items digitized. Once digitization is complete, these items will become unified, virtually, with the holdings of the BPL via Digital Commonwealth and the DPLA. As our materials are connected to these other resources, we will have created a more comprehensive online resource for researchers who otherwise would have had to travel to multiple locations. This ability to enable a high level of discoverability for small, local collections bolsters our position as a leader and an innovator for library services. This has been our reputation since our founding and a source of pride for Boston ever since.

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3 Responses to “Life as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America”

  1. John Palfrey says:

    Thank you for taking on this incredibly important work for the entire Commonwealth, Tom and team. Your project is a model for he country, if not the world.

  2. […] Tom is also credited for helping establish the strong relationship that has transpired between the BPL, the Digital Commonwealth, and the Digital Public Library of America who chose Digital Commonwealth as one of its initial service hubs.  For more about that experience, check out Tom’s recent blog post: Life as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America. […]

  3. […] During the past few years, the Digital Services department has been digitizing materials from other libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies from across the state. Nearly 100 different communities – almost 30% of all Massachusetts towns and cities – have been served by the BPL as members of the Digital Services team travel across the state for on-site digitization consultations and material transport. This work was initially supported by a federal grant awarded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, with the goal of the project to grow and support Digital Commonwealth, a consolidated statewide digital library system. This project is now being supported with State funds through the Library for the Commonwealth program. All of these digitized collections will soon be available at the Digital Public Library of America, of which the BPL is a service hub. […]

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