The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an online searchable collaborative network. The site contains information on over 18 million items (and growing), contributed by a network of hubs (38 to date) that represent hundreds of individual institutions. DPLA is free to use and allows people from all over the world access local collections. There are over 60,000 items from 64 different Maine based collections currently in DPLA, with the number set to grow in the future, the goal is to be able to have one place to search across Maine collections.
DPLA is different from other projects such as Internet Archive or HathiTrust. While these both also have large searchable online collection, in DPLA and find an item you want to look at, click on the image or link you are sent to the page for the object at institution that digitized it. DPLA only collects the metadata(Title, descriptions, creator, dates, place) and the link to the object, not the files of the items.
What does a hub do?
The Maine State Library (MSL) became the Maine service hub in 2015. DPLA has two kinds of hubs:
Content hubs– These are large institutions or collection, that hold over 200,000 digital items. Examples: New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Internet Archive.
Service hubs– These are state or regional hubs that help to “aggregate, or otherwise bring together digital objects from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions.”
As the hub MSL’s job is to work with other institutions in the State of Maine who have collections of digital objects. The hub coordinate with the institutions to make sure their data meets the DPLA requirements and then once everything is ready acts as the point of contact for DPLA to get the data. The hub also works to helps to educate and promote got metadata standards and does outreach to institutions throughout the state.
MSL is currently working with a number of institutions that generally take two forms:
Institutions with their own repository
These are the groups use the hub just for the aggregation service. We also advice on metadata and other technical issues, related to DPLA, metadata and harvesting.