The Orbis Cascade Alliance’s journey to becoming a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub illustrates some important challenges and opportunities in the world of digital cultural heritage work. Released in 2013, DPLA brings together cultural heritage content on a national digital platform. Since 2014 the Alliance has moved towards DPLA membership as part of a broader strategy to aggregate its members’ digital cultural heritage collections and make them more discoverable. Competing strategies for making content discoverable, limited financial resources, and differences in missions between institutions have been obstacles as the Alliance has worked towards aggregated collections and DPLA membership. The DPLA has experienced recent growing pains as evidenced by a staff downsizing in November 2018 and the closing of a major Service Hub shortly thereafter. Though the Alliance membership has made extensive progress in metadata standardization and aggregation in preparation for a DPLA ingest, as of June 2019, Alliance DPLA activity is on hold until a new Program Manager for Unique and Local Content comes on board.

Author Biography

Mark Dahl is currently director of the Aubrey R. Watzek Library at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. He has served in academic libraries for 20 years as a systems librarian, associate director for technical and digital services, and director. His professional interests include digital initiatives, student engagement with library resources and the liberal arts college library. He has presented and written extensively on new and emerging roles for academic libraries. In recent years, he has held leadership roles on the board and Teams of the Orbis Cascade Alliance consortium. He holds an undergraduate degree in history and journalism and master’s degrees in history and library/information science.

Zachariah Selley is the Associate Head of Special Collections and College Archivist for Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He is a contributor to the Orbis Cascade Alliance as a member of the Unique and Local Content Team, and current Chair of the Archival Collection Management Standing Group. Additionally, Selley teaches in support of the archives program for the Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management. Selley holds undergraduate degrees in philosophy and music history, and a master’s degree in library and information science.

Copyright statement

© 2019 Mark Dahl



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