About Us

Morning Keynote - Mary Minow

Fake News Literacy: What Is the Role of Libraries and Other Cultural Heritage Institutions?

Sham sites, misleading news, highly partisan manipulations, clickbait, satire and just plain disfavored facts. What role do librarians, archivists, and curators play in helping users discern the probability of truth? Is information literacy the same as “fake news” literacy? What responsive activities are cultural heritage institutions undertaking today, and what might or should they do going forward? What is the responsibility of digital repositories in harvesting and making accessible information that is accurate and dependable? How can political neutrality be maintained given the landscape of 2017 and beyond?

Speaker: Mary Minow is an advanced leadership initiative fellow at Harvard University and is a Presidential Appointee to the board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. She is one of the foremost legal scholars on issues that impact libraries, including copyright and fair use and has been very active in the library community, serving on boards and committees that span a range of interests and communities. Mary has also worked as a consultant with libraries in California and across the country on copyright, privacy, free speech and related legal issues. She most recently was counsel to Califa, a consortium of California libraries that set up its own statewide ebook lending service. Previously she was the Follett Chair at Dominican University’s School of Library and Information Science. Current and past board memberships include the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Freedom to Read Foundation and the California Association of Trustees and Commissioners (Past Chair). Mary is the recipient of the first Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom award and also received a WISE (Webbased Information Science Education) award for excellence in online education when she taught part time at San Jose State University. (Adapted from DPLA )

Lunch Keynote - Eben English

Digital Commonwealth Repository System Update: Year in Review & Future Directions

This talk will provide a review of the features and collections added to the Digital Commonwealth system over the past year, such as the new administrative interface and ability to download source files. Plans for additional features and future system updates will be discussed, including a report on efforts to make the source code behind the site more extensible and shareable, as well as ongoing efforts around migrating metadata to Linked Data RDF. In addition, this session will also revisit usage statistics and user behavior patterns for the Digital Commonwealth site in an attempt to further explore user behavior, site traffic sources, popular content, and the impact of metadata quality on discoverability.

Speakers: Eben English is a Web Services Developer at the Boston Public Library. Prior to this position, he worked in a number of academic libraries in Chicago, focusing on digital collection development and library website design. He holds an MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Breakout Sessions

The Social Life of Digital Collections - Elizabeth Thomsen

Session Description: Sharing photographs and other items from your collection on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, HistoryPin and other social media sites is a great way to find new audiences and build engagement with the public. It can also be a way to get more information about your collection ("Hey, that's my Grandma!") and even to attract new contributions. But there's an art to making the most of social media -- learn more about timing and tagging, and see inspiring examples from libraries, museums and cultural heritage organizations that are super-successful at sharing!

Speaker: Elizabeth Thomsen is the Member Services Manager of NOBLE, the North of Boston Library Exchange, and currently manages the Digital Commonwealth's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.  Outside of work she's also involved with local history photography projects on HistoryPin and Wikimedia Commons, and participates in the National Archives' crowdsourced Citizen Archivist projects.

Creative Commons Crash Course - Carli Spina

Session Description: Are you curious about Creative Commons? Have you been considering how Creative Commons licenses might help your institution to achieve its goals? In this session, you will learn about the different types of Creative Commons licenses and how your institution can share (or make use of) materials under a Creative Commons license. By the end of the session, you will have the tools necessary to decide whether Creative Commons licenses are right for your project or institution and, if so, which license you should use.

Speaker: Carli Spina is the Head Librarian for Assessment and Outreach at the Boston College Libraries. She has experience providing copyright and Creative Commons training and support for librarians and educators.

Building Primary Source Sets for Students and Teachers - Franky Abbott and Ella Howard

Session Description: Working in collaboration with a committee of educators from around the country over the past year, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) created and published one hundred Primary Source Sets on topics in history, literature, and culture, designed to be be ready-to-use for both teachers and students from middle school to college. In this session, DPLA curator Franky Abbott and committee member and history professor Ella Howard will discuss some of the key questions raised during the research and development of this project: What were the challenges and opportunities of bringing together disparate digital collections from repositories across the country? What does it mean to us to design the project for an audience of both teachers and students? What have we learned about how instructors are the primary source sets in the classroom?

Speakers: Franky Abbott works as the Curation and Education Strategist for the Digital Public Library of America. In this capacity, she leads DPLA education initiatives with teachers, and students in K-12 and higher education, manages digital exhibitions, and previously ran the Gates-funded Public Library Partnerships Project. Prior to working at DPLA, Franky worked on digital library and digital humanities projects at the University of Alabama and Emory University. She has a PhD in American Studies.

Ella Howard is an Associate Professor of History at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts, where she teaches digital history, design history, and the history of technology. Her research focuses on urban history, poverty, and segregation. Her book Homeless: Poverty and Place was published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2013.

Digital Risks and Rewards: Making Works Available in Light of Copyright Law - Kyle Courtney

Session Description: Technology has continually outpaced copyright law, yet communities are eager to use the latest technology to make digital works available for distribution to the public. Often, these communities may hesitate because of concern over the legal implications of their actions. This interactive session will examine the state of copyright law, especially with respect to digitization, risk, and the “super powers” of libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions. Looking at ways to reconcile our reliance on past law with attempts to reframe our thinking in light of more recent laws, this session will provide the context for participants to take a fresh look at policy and technology. 

Speaker: Kyle K. Courtney, both lawyer and librarian, is the Copyright Advisor and Program Manager at Harvard University’s Office for Scholarly Communication. Kyle works to establish a culture of shared understanding of copyright law within the Harvard community and beyond. His work at Harvard also includes a role as the copyright and information policy advisor for HarvardX/edX, and he continues to teach first year legal research sessions through Harvard Law School's Legal Research & Writing Program.  The State Copyright Resource Center, part of Kyle’s “Copyright First Responders” initiative, was profiled in Library Journal in 2013, and he was named a National Library Mover & Shaker in 2015.  Kyle co-founded Fair Use Week in 2014, which is now an international celebration sponsored annually by over 140 universities, libraries, and other institutions.  In 2016 he won a Knight Foundation Grant to develop technology for crowdsourcing copyright and fair use assessments. He also currently maintains a dual appointment at Northeastern University and is in his 10th year of teaching “Cyberlaw: Privacy, Ethics, and Digital Rights” for the interdisciplinary Information Assurance program at the College of Computer and Information Science. He holds a J.D. with distinction in Intellectual Property/High Technology Law and an MSLIS. He is a published author and nationally recognized speaker on the topics of copyright, technology, libraries, and the law. His writing has appeared in Politico, Slate, Library Journal, and other publications. His most recent book is MOOCs and Libraries in the 21st Century is published by Rowman & Littlefield Ltd. You can find him on Twitter @KyleKCourtney.

Update  from the DPLA - Kelcy Shepherd & Franky Abbott

Session Description: This session will highlight recent and upcoming developments at the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), focusing in particular on how they impact Hubs like the Digital Commonwealth and its members. The speakers will provide updates and discuss new directions for content, curation, sustainability, the Hubs Network, and more.

Speakers: Kelcy Shepherd is a DPLA Network Manager at the Digital Public Library of America, where she works to support and continue to expand DPLA’s growing Hubs network by coordinating the Hubs application process; providing oversight for Hubs communications; and building community among the Hubs network. Kelcy has worked on digital archives and digital library projects for over fifteen years. She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and a BA in Art & Design with a second major in Anthropology from Iowa State University.

Franky Abbott works as the Curation and Education Strategist for the Digital Public Library of America. In this capacity, she leads DPLA education initiatives with teachers, and students in K-12 and higher education, manages digital exhibitions, and previously ran the Gates-funded Public Library Partnerships Project. Prior to working at DPLA, Franky worked on digital library and digital humanities projects at the University of Alabama and Emory University. She has a PhD in American Studies.

Building a Digital Humanities Community at Salem State University

Session Description: Digital Humanities programs have been predominantly housed at elite private institutions and flagship public universities and have focused on the needs of faculty researchers and graduate students. While funding is one of the main obstacles at non-elite institutions, it is possible to begin a digital humanities program on a shoestring budget. Roopika Risam, Assistant Professor of English, and Susan Edwards, University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, will provide an overview of digital humanities initiatives at Salem State University. The session will focus on collaborative work building the digital humanities project Digital Salem as a place-based locus for digital scholarship and launching an undergraduate internship program to explore ethical ways of creating innovative research experiences for undergraduate students. 

Speakers: ‪Roopika Risam is an assistant professor of English at Salem State University. Her research examines the intersections of postcolonial, African diaspora, and U.S. ethnic studies and the role of digital humanities in mediating between them. Her book Postcolonial Digital Humanities is forthcoming with Northwestern University Press, and her co-edited volume Intersectionality in Digital Humanities is under contract with Arc Humanities Press. Her scholarship has recently appeared in Debates in the Digital Humanities, International Journal of e-Politics, First Monday, Ada, South Asian Review, Digital Humanities Quarterly, Left History, and Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. Speaker bio: Susan Edwards is the University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Salem State University.  She started the Archives program in 1996 as the first full-time professional archivist. Susan is a “lone arranger” and is responsible for all aspects of the program, including collection development, instruction, and digital projects. Prior to Salem State, she worked at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

Metadata mysteries: unraveling the magic and the myths behind the data that drives Digital Commonwealth

Session description: In this open format, Q&A session with the BPL digitization team and “Metadata Mob” leaders, participants will have the opportunity to understand some of the general principles, and more specific data creation and transformation procedures that have comprised their work over the past few years. After some brief introductory remarks, attendees will be encouraged to discuss their projects and how to best execute metadata creation along with the BPL staff.

Speakers:Tom Blake has been working at the Boston Public Library as their Digital Imaging Production Manager and Digital Projects Manager since 2005. He is currently responsible for the creation of beautiful, versatile, and sustainable digital objects for all BPL digital initiatives. Since 2010, he has managed an ambitious project to help digitize collections from across Massachusetts in conjunction with Digital Commonwealth, a statewide repository service, and as a pilot Service Hub of the Digital Public Library of America.  Tom came to the BPL from the Massachusetts Historical Society, where he was involved in several digital projects including the online version of the diaries of John Quincy Adams. He also served as a photographer and imaging specialist for nine years at Boston Photo Imaging and as an archives assistant at the MIT Special Collections and Archives.  Tom holds a BFA in Professional Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and an MS in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons College.  

Danny Pucci is the Lead Digital Projects Librarian at the Boston Public Library. In this capacity, she directs the metadata strategy for the library's digitization program, maintaining institutional metadata standards and best practice guidelines. Danny works closely with Digital Commonwealth's repository developers to conceptualize, model, and implement standardized profiles for the digital objects deployed by the system. She also advises Boston Public Library departments, as well as Statewide Digitization partners, about how to develop their own metadata strategies and sustainable workflows for digital projects.

Jake Sadow  is the Statewide Digitization Project Archivist for the Boston Public Library. He project manages the Statewide Digitization program, serving as a liaison between Massachusetts-based cultural heritage institutions and digitization staff at the Boston Public Library. He has worked with over 300 institutions to get their cultural heritage collections online, including libraries, museums, historical societies and universities. He also acts as an educator, raising awareness among library and information professionals of issues in digitization and promoting conversations between institutions to address those issues.

Nichole Shea is the Statewide Metadata Coordinator at the Boston Public Library. She works with institutions in the Statewide Digitization program to gather and prepare data for the Digital Commonwealth repository. She is also the lead member of the program’s Metadata Mob, which provides metadata assistance for partner institutions as needed.

Collaborating with the Digital Commonwealth: How to Prepare Your Materials for Digitization (step-by-step)

Session Description: Let’s digitize this collection!  It’s easy, right?  Wrong! What is involved in making a decision as to what collections to digitize and what are the steps and issues that one needs to address to prepare a collection of documents, photographs, broadsides, ephemera, etc. to be digitized?  This session will provide the participants with an overview of many of the issues that need to be considered, if not implemented, to prepare your collections for digitization.

Speaker: Gregor Trinkaus-Randall is the Preservation Specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) where he is responsible for implementing the statewide preservation program.  He is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists, the Society of American Archivists, the Midwest Archives Conference, and the New England Archivists. He is a former President of the New England Archivists (1995-1996) and of the Society of American Archivists (2011-2012).  He is a member of the NEDCC's Advisory Committee, the Digital Commonwealth’s Executive Board, LYRASIS’s Board of Trustees, and the USS Constitution Museum Curatorial Committee.  Gregor is Co-Chair of COSTEP Massachusetts (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness), Project Director for Mitigation for Memory, a FEMA Hazard Mitigation grant, and Co-Project Director for Archival Education for Municipal Clerks, an NHPRC grant with Simmons College.  He is currently the Project Director of a two-year NEH funded grant, Finding Common Ground: Collaborative Training for the Cultural Heritage and Emergency Response Communities. He has spoken widely on preservation, disaster preparedness, archival, and security topics.  He has run numerous disaster preparedness, repair, security, and other preservation as well as archival workshops for librarians and archivists.  

Lightning round session - 8 to 9 speakers

A number of institutions--from universities to historical societies--will be quickly highlighting digitization projects that were completed in the last couple of years.

  • Alex Lent: Heritage Trust Grand Prize from Dell Inc. for digitization of local history collection, Millis Public Library

  • Alix Quan: Massachusetts Real Estate Digitization Project, Massachusetts State Library

  • Sarah Hayes: Digital Preservation System,  Trustees. Archives & Research Center
  • Jean Maguire and Molly Rogers: Historic Catholic Records Online, New England Historic Genealogical Society

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