“Practically Digital: Doing What it Takes”

The 8th Annual Digital Commonwealth Conference

Hogan Center

College of the Holy Cross, Worcester


8:00 – 9:00 Registration


9:00 - 9:15 Welcome and Digital Commonwealth Update


9:15 – 9:30 Boston Public Library Update


9:30 – 10:30 Keynote: Real Life Copyright
Melissa Levine, Lead Copyright Officer from the University of Michigan Library

Not sure what copyright is all about?  This session is a general overview of copyright with some straight talk about what it’s for, key exceptions like fair use, and different approaches to thinking about copyright for content you create as well as using others’ work. We'll also discuss Creative Commons licenses and how they can help you share your collections responsibly.


10:30 – 11:00 Exclusive Vendor Exhibits/Networking Time

Want a metadata consultation? The staff from the Boston Public Library will be on hand in the exhibit area during this time and through the day to answer conference attendees’ questions about describing their collections and getting digitized materials into the Digital Commonwealth system.


11:00 – 12:00 Breakout Sessions

Introduction to the Digital Commonwealth
Ryan Hanson, Newton Free Library and Digital Commonwealth Vice-President

Are you a member of the Digital Commonwealth? Do you have a collection that you would like to digitize, or that is already digitized? Are you interested in gaining a better understanding of how to include your digital resources in the Digital Commonwealth? Then this session is for you! Learn more about how the process works from start to finish, see examples of the technology and tools, and ask questions about your project.  

Online Exhibits: From Paper to Published
Sofía Becerra-Licha and Ernie Gillis, Berklee College of Music Oral History Project
Norton Owen, Jacobs Pillow Dance Interactive Site
Alicia Peaker and Kristi Girdharry, Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive

In this modern world, exhibits are no longer confined to the four walls of our institutions.  Virtual wall space provides unique opportunities for visitors to experience our collections from the comforts of their own homes.  While technology presents us with great possibilities for creativity, it also can create stumbling blocks that stand in the way of realizing our visions.  Costs, lack of technical know-how, and limitations on presentation can be daunting.  This panel of speakers will discuss how they surmounted these issues to create engaging online exhibits.  


Developing a Born-Digital Preservation Workflow
Bill Donovan and Jack Kearney, Boston College

The use of forensic software and hardware, traditionally employed by law enforcement, has spread to special collections libraries and archives as they seek to preserve electronic records for future generations.  This session will focus on the research and development of best practices and protocols for dealing with born-digital archival materials, and putting these into action using a real-life test case -- an external hard drive given to Boston College's John J. Burns Library as part of the personal papers of Irish soprano and harpist Mary O'Hara.


12:00 – 1:45 Lunch and Keynote
The Practicality to Being a Visionary
Liz Bishoff, Bishoff Group

So now that we’ve built it, how do we make certain that we’re maximizing the benefits of digital collections to our users?  We will explore five-six key issues, including the impact of expanded collaboration, look at the role of community engagement, and address the issue of long term access to digital collections, to consider how the Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth will take its program to the next step.  The presentation will include audience participation.


1:45 – 2:45 Breakout Sessions

Digital Commonwealth 2.0: It's Alive!
Steven Anderson and Eben English, Boston Public Library

This session will provide an overview of the newly launched Digital Commonwealth site. Take a tour through Massachusetts history courtesy of an astounding cornucopia of content and collections contributed by libraries, archives, and museums from across the state. A full demonstration of the system's capabilities will be provided, and participants will get an introduction to the workflows used to ingest objects via manual submission, batch upload, and OAI-PMH harvest. An overview of the architecture used to store, manage, and provide access to digital objects in the repository will be included; other topics will include content models, descriptive metadata, creating collections, access permissions, and how the site feeds content into the Digital Public Library of America.


Making Connections:  Linking the DPLA and the Digital Commonwealth
Franky Abbott, Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. In this presentation, Franky Abbott will explain the DPLA's mission and strategies for building and displaying content aggregated from digital collections including state and regional libraries like Digital Commonwealth.


“They Knew They Were Pilgrimes:” Conserving and Digitizing a Treasure of the Commonwealth
Beth Carroll-Horrocks, State Library of Massachusetts
Jessica Henze, Northeast Document Conservation Center

This presentation will tell the story of the Massachusetts State Library’s project to conserve and digitize one of its most valuable resources, the 17th-century manuscript by Mayflower passenger and Plymouth settler William Bradford.  Beth Carroll-Horrocks will describe the document and its author, the manuscript’s history of travels, the decision to preserve it, and the steps taken to secure funding and conservation services. Jessica Henze, the conservator who treated the volume, will present an account of the conservation and digitization performed by NEDCC.


2:45 – 3:00 Afternoon Break and Exhibits


3:00 – 4:00 Breakout Sessions

Panning for Gold: Grant-Writing for Digital Projects
Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Grant-writing is grant-writing!  However, all grant proposals contain certain core elements.  This session will focus on the core components and approaches to writing grant proposals whether for digital or other projects.  While this session will not guarantee you a successful proposal (no one can do that), it will enable you to approach proposal-writing in a systematic and thorough manner.


Audience Engagement and Crowdsourcing
Alyssa Pacy, Cambridge Public Library
Jim McGrath and David DeCamp, Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive

Publishing digital assets online is just the first step in reaching your intended audience. Take the process further with audience engagement strategies that invite your audience to interact, collaborate and actively contribute in new and exciting ways.  Engagement ideas range from tagging to crowdsourcing transcriptions to inviting new contributions to your collection. Panelists from the Cambridge Public Library and the Boston Bombing Digital Archive will share how they have integrated crowdsourcing and audience engagement activities into their online resources.

Rapid Fire Inspiring Projects

Christine Clayton, Worcester Art Museum; Abigail Cramer, Historic New England; Sean M. Fisher, Department of Conservation and Recreation and Rebecca Kenney, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority; Larissa Glasser, Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library; Nancy Heywood, Massachusetts Historical Society; Michael Lapides, New Bedford Whaling Museum; Sara Slymon, Turner Free Library

Looking for new ideas or just want to see what other cultural institutions have done with their digitized materials? Join us for a lightning round of short presentations showcasing examples from some of the great projects enabled by BPL’s statewide digitization efforts. Learn how other libraries, museums, and cultural institutions have brought new audiences to their unique collections.


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