Newswise — The Kentucky Digital Library (KDL), built and managed since 1997 by University of Kentucky Libraries with support from the Kentucky Virtual Library and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, has been selected as a pilot project "service hub" of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The DPLA is the first national effort that seeks to aggregate existing records in state and regional digital libraries so that they are searchable from a single portal and available free of charge to all.
Made accessible via DPLA's combined collection will be millions of digitized maps, books, newspapers, photographs, oral histories and manuscripts. The technical platform on which the DPLA is based is open source and will allow developers to build tools, applications, and services using the data contributed by the partners; additionally, libraries will be able to integrate DPLA data and services into their own sites.
Funded for two years by grants totaling $350,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Knight Foundation and the Arcadia Fund, the scope of work of the KDL service hub will include the digitization of new content from Kentucky’s libraries, as well as the sponsorship of community engagement activities that will include scanning events and opportunities for community members to share and record their stories. UK Libraries will partner with the Lexington Public Library to hold events for the public to help shape aspects of digital content creation in subject areas of community interest.
"This is a wonderful project because it not only makes our rich Kentucky content available in a broader way, but also supports increased engagement with the public,” said Mary Molinaro, project director and UK associate dean for library technologies.
Grant funding also will provide librarian and archivist training in both processing collections for digitization and for preparation of metadata to accompany those collections.
Finally, the design of the project includes the outsourcing for digitization of selected collections of significant unstable and endangered oral histories on audio tape.
A DPLA/KDL steering committee has been named to consider and prioritize collections proposed for digitization. Members include State Librarian Wayne Onkst, of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives; Adam Murray, dean of Murray State University Libraries; Virginia McClure, Kentucky Room manager at Lexington Public Library; Tracy Campbell, professor of history and co-director of the UK Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center; and Heath Martin, director of collections at UK Libraries.
In addition to capitalizing on the research that went into the creation and management of the KDL collection, digital holdings from four other state digital libraries and one regional library collective will act as the initial set of DPLA Service Hubs and combine resources to form the basis of the DPLA. These are the Digital Library of Georgia, Minnesota Digital Library, Mountain West Digital Library (Utah, Nevada and Arizona), South Carolina Digital Library and the Digital Commonwealth (Massachusetts). Harvard University will also initially provide select digitized special collections to the DPLA.
The nationwide launch of the DPLA will take place April 18-19, in Boston, Mass. The launch will include digital exhibitions developed by each hub about topics as varied as the Great Depression to the New Deal, Prohibition, civil rights and activism, and national parks. Additionally there will be a joint online exhibition done in conjunction with the European digital library, Europeana, on immigration in America.
More information on the Digital Public Library of America and Kentucky’s participation in the Hubs Pilot Project may be found at http://dp.la. The Kentucky Digital Library can be accessed at http://kdl.kyvl.org.