MPLA: Community Contributed Digital Content

If We Build It, Will They Come? Novel Approaches to Collecting and Supporting Digital Library Content: Community Contributed Digital Content

Trish Pierson, Digial Collections Librarian and Alan from South Dakota

Butte-Silver Bow Public Library, Butte, MT

  • Community Contributed Content? How to collect content…
  • community members create and/or enhance digital content
  • Shift in digital content and expectations: 24/7 services and Interaction with content:  Facebook, Flickr, YouTube – interact and engage with the content
  • Leads to involvement with a new online community

Examples of Enhancement of Library/Organization-added Content:

  • Addressing History:
    • The Addressing History is a website and API which combines data from digitised historical Scottish Post Office Directories (PODs) with contemporaneous historical maps.
  • Chicago Underground Library:
  • Galaxy Zoo:
    • If you’re quick, you may even be the first person in history to see each of the galaxies you’re asked to classify.

Examples of Community-added Content:

Butte Neighborhoods (Trish’s project)

  • Mining community with the huge Berkley Pit (superfund site)
  • Ethnic neighborhoods – Irish, Finish, etc. used to be where the Pit is now.
  • Butte Digital Image Project –
  • books, pamphlets, photos via Grant in collaboration with State Library and Historical Society
  • Add story to the Description – people like to read the story of the photos

Butte Historic Image Collection on Flickr (buttepubliclibrary)

  • Along side site and drives traffic to the Digital Image Project
  • Groups – Men in Montana, Mining in Montana, Schools, Meaderville (sunken neighborhoods)
  • Local museum of Mining has photos (sans info) that they rescued
  • Help save the historical documents

Trish was approached by a gentleman who wanted to scan his content and photos from the now-sunk neighborhoods, but not relinquish ownership.

How do we do it???

  • Copyright and Permissions
  • Professional photographs own copyright of their photos – can’t post those
  • Permissions for use (borrower her form) (work in progress)
  • sign off on the use of someone’s private photos
  • wording is to cover digital rights – owner shouldn’t have to give up digital rights

Perils and Pitfalls (and navigating through them)

  • Potential Issues
  • Space needs are minimal – computer and a scanner
  • Grant funding for salary and equipment
  • Equipment: flatbed scanner
  • Use State’s guidelines and mtmemory
  • Portable scanners to check out – owned by MT State Library
  • Catalog the digital file? Yes, create metadata for mtmemory project, you can catalog on OCLC or crosswalk dublin core into worldcat
  • Flickr site is less technical, but provide links to mt memory and catalog records
  • image licensing? reuse? creative commons? Images out of books are open, some scanned are under copyright, give note to copy/use with permission of the owner
  • Monitoring or filtering of contributions? Depends on the site. Monitored sites – moderated
  • Some sites require training of volunteers / vetting of contributors
  • Review Flickr site regularly to remove random comments and spam ads
  • Haven’t advertised this outside the grant yet, so not a lot of non-historic content yet
  • Post funding, what happens to Trish?? Continuing to apply for grant funding.
  • WOOT! She’s heard of kete in NZ
  • Flickr site drives catalog, website – 2nd or 3rd highest. Pulls people in to look at the site and project sites.
  • TO DO: Why doesn’t ksmemory have a Flickr site (or do they?)
  • Diaries or just photos? No diaries owned in the library yet. Pamphlets and books owned by the library.
  • Stories that go to the photos enhance the value. What’s the easiest way to get the stories in with the photos? Flickr Group allows people to scan their own photos and share story there.
  • With Great War site – (online presentations) – Choose from Flickr to add back to a local database/web site
  • Do people post copyrighted photos? When people add content to Flickr, they have to take responsibility of the copyright.
  • Collaborate with students? Provide this as a place for history students to post their projects.
  • Open up a ‘Scan Day’ – classes to help with scanning into flickr (service projects)
  • One library using old scanners to scan photos from yearbooks – teens doing it!
  • Put kid’s oral history project with photos on Flickr (volunteers) – Add audiofiles to mtmemory
  • Students look for photos/timeline – both mtmemory and flickr account – share with schools! Advertise.

Alan’s portion – University of South Dakota

  • Building it is not enough
  • Content as Bait, Efforts of fishing and waiting for nibbles…but lets find different kinds of bait (hehe)
  • Value-added approach – not just the content itself

Four elements: Creating | Linking | Marketing | Maintenance and Refinement

  • Creating and Linking can be done for very low cost, but all four elements have high people costs – time consuming
  • Where can we get the devotion of time? volunteers? students? teens? library members?

Combine online material with instructions – lesson plans, ex. Hudson River Valley Project Lesson Plans

  • Combine Web sites – URLS – Be the one to create additional/complementary content
  • – Digital library is a bunch of activities rather than images (School librarian?)
  • National sciences digital library – K-12 –
  • Instructional Architect – overlay to national sciences digital library – create an account and use this as a virtual workspace – the Linking Component

Types of Value Added Content

  • Louisana State Museum includes calendar, K-12/Teachers, Adults, volunteers. Start with “how to use this resource” then more PDF lesson plans. Direct link to the resource, plus browsing crumbles
  • Eastern North Carolina Digital Library includes images and audio files/podcasts.
    • Ken Burns – great example of someone who benefits from digital libraries.
    • Ken Burns effect – takes a static image and gives it motion and activity.
    • Bed key example – description, story, lesson plan focused on images of artifacts/objects.
    • Use these as starting point for exploration, writing assignments, etc.
    • Have a digital library with artificts, enhance with short mp3 stories about the artifact from the community
    • GIVE LIFE to ordinary objects
  • International Childrnes Digital Library
    • Teacher training manual – contains activities, lessons and suggestions on how to make use of the content
  • Iowa Digital Library
    • Picturing Local History lesson plan including standards covered by the plan.
    • Encourage students to look at a photo of Main street and see how it’s same/different now
    • Plan a historic tour of the community to describe specific locations, for example

Creating value added content

  • Minnesota Reflections – metadata includes address information in title of photo
    • Lesson plan – have students re-create the photo from the digital library, then upload to Flickr and create metadata.
    • Get photos from the community – then ask for feedback, stories, memories from community. Then add those to the library. Takes time.
    • Collaborate with Chamber of Commerce to record community as it is now? Tour stored on the Digital Library. Outsiders using your digital library
    • Dorm room photos – what can we do with the photo? What artifacts are in the picture? Flashcard example – use with children.
    • Teach children digital libraries at an early age. Include in storytime? Summer reading?
    • Use Digital library as PROMPTS for CREATIVITY – writing assignments – compare/contrast your dormroom photo with historic photo.
  • Butte’s Flickr collection
    • Clear Rights information provided and Permission information added
    • Add map information
    • Comments and questions – answer provided by a community member via Facebook
    • Flickr and Facebook can be linked
    • Pull from community memory/institutional memory (Friends of the Library??)
    • Layer content
  • Description Worksheet
    • Describe library – scope and kinds of objects
    • Primary audience?
    • What kind of users do we wish to attract?
  • Creating Value Added Content worksheet
    • content or objects > primary audience > secondary audience > desired goal > time available > activity type > digital objects connected to the activity > additional external materials needed


  • LibGuides and Digital Libraries
    • Digital Library of South Dakota
    • A Civil War Diary – Transcription of copper plate diary. Used libguide to make it a civil war diary project site. Includes direct link to content, lesson plans (one on marching) for different grade levels and option to submit your own lesson plan
  • Facebook and Digital Libraries – Digital Library of the Caribbean
    • Open site, so you have to diligently maintain
    • Free
    • Need a way to create links – connect users to the content
  • Blogspot – Boston Public Library
    • Includes twitter link
    • Add stories and other marketing tools
  • WordPress
    • Blog of the Digital NLS
    • Low cost
    • Highlight parts of the collection
  • Find Partnerships
    • Teachers to use the site?
    • Chamber of commerce and/or local Realtor?
    • Preschools
    • Integrate with library programming

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