Articles by Annie Schutte

  • Article

    Library curriculum demonstrates civic innovation

    October 7, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Library curriculum demonstrates civic innovation

    library

    Knight Foundation’s Library Initiative supports libraries in 27 cities to become digital community centers that help foster informed and engaged communities. The following blog post, written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight, explores a digital skills curriculum established by the St. Paul Public Library. Photo credit: Flickr user Martin Kalfatovic.

    The St. Paul Public Library in Minnesota has undergone a transformation over the last few years, rebranding itself as the learning center for its diverse and vibrant community. The Northstar Digital Literacy Standards, which the library developed in collaboration with the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium, are one of the cornerstones of this vision.

    Evidence of this powerful collaboration is visible all across the Twin Cities region.

    If you walk into St. Paul’s Rondo Library on a Tuesday evening, you’ll see basic computer classes being taught in Somali through the Mobile WORKplace program.  

    If you stop by Waite House in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, you might find a gentleman in the computer lab writing emails to his daughter—something he learned how to do after wandering into the community center for its annual Harvest Feast and hearing about their adult computer classes.

  • Article

    Libraries use digital technology to redefine their roles in communities

    February 11, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Libraries use digital technology to redefine their roles in communities

    Photo credit: Flickr user Eric Kornblum

    The increasing prevalence and proliferation of digital content has pushed libraries to redefine themselves over the past decade. Knight Foundation brought together library directors from across the country this weekend to discuss this issue and hear from one panel of librarians tackling the digital question from different angles.

    Larra Clark, director of the Program on Networks and Associate Director of the Program on America's Libraries for the 21st century in the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy, described the shift in libraries as broadening from merely distributing books to focusing on "learning, reading, and literacy" in every form and format. 

    RELATED LINK 

    "Libraries go from building collections to making connections"

    "Bringing new voices to the public library"

    "Building the Digital Public Library of America"

    Pat Losinski, CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio, said libraries need to begin "making the transition from outputs to community-based outcomes." Right now, he said, about 70 to 80 percent of libraries' operating budgets are still going to the distribution of physical items, and that has to change. 

    The Columbus library conducted a survey asking its community to submit five words to describe the library of their youth, and then five words to describe a public library 20 years from now. The change in language was incredible. Patrons most commonly described the library of their youth with the words "books," "research," "reading," "information," "education," and "quiet."  But the language of the future was "community," "technology," "research," access" and "information."

  • Article

    Showcasing Kentucky's unique oral-history and newspaper collections

    March 13, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Showcasing Kentucky's unique oral-history and newspaper collections

    The following is part of a series that looks at The Digital Public Library of America  - the first national effort to aggregate existing records in state and regional digital libraries so that they are searchable from a single portal. It focuses on one of the six state digital libraries that will act as a service hub for the project. It is written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight Foundation. Photo credit: Flickr user Inner Spirit.

    The Kentucky Digital Library's 800,000-page newspaper collection alone contains more items than many digital libraries—and that's before you get to their more than 600,000  pages of books,  photographs, archival materials, maps, oral histories and pages of other paginated publications. Associate Dean for Library Technologies at the University of Kentucky Libraries and Digital Public Library service-hub Director Mary Molinaro says that the even larger pot of aggregated content available will certainly be impressive, but "that's just scratching the surface." The true power of the digital library, in her opinion, lies in its completely open architecture, which she says will allow anyone to "use and reuse this content … in new and creative ways, which I think is going to be just magic."

    RELATED LINKS

    "Building the Digital Public Library of America

    "Digitizing Georgia's cultural heritage

    Molinaro says that its open data model will be "a game changer" that moves the aggregation beyond "just saving links" and a traditional interface where "people could browse through the collection." But that doesn't mean the exhibits that go along with the launch won't be wonderful anyway, she assured. The Kentucky Digital Library is planning on showing us what they do best—bourbon—by sharing an exhibition that features oral histories and photographs from Prohibition.

    In this interview, Molinaro talks more about the innovative oral-history and newspaper collections that the Kentucky Digital Library will share with the national project, how her collective plans to reach out to help new communities around Kentucky digitize their collections, and the infrastructure challenges involved in growing a new aggregation project this quickly.

    Tell me a little bit about your organization and how you became involved with the Digital Public Library of America?

    M.M.: At the University of Kentucky Libraries, we coordinate and act as a contractor on behalf of the libraries in the state of Kentucky and manage the Kentucky Digital Library. This is a large digital library and aggregates its content from archives and libraries around the state. We have small collections and then large collections, particularly from the University of Kentucky —a lot of our collections are in this, as well.

  • Article

    Digitizing Georgia's cultural heritage

    March 7, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Digitizing Georgia's cultural heritage

    The following is part of a series that looks at The Digital Public Library of America - the first national effort to aggregate existing records in state and regional digital libraries so that they are searchable from a single portal. The following is a look at one of the six state digital libraries that will act as a service hub for the project. It is written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight Foundation.

    The Digital Library of Georgia is a massive aggregation in its own right with one million objects in more than 200 collections from 60+ institutions and 100+ state government agencies. It also provides a portal to two jewel collections: this Civil Rights Digital Library and the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries' Civil War Portal.

    RELATED LINK

    "Building the Digital Public Library of America" on Knight Blog

    "Showcasing Kentucky's unique oral-history and newspaper collections" on Knight Blog

    Associate Director of the Digital Library of Georgia and DPLA service-hub Director Sheila McAlister is excited to see what happens when Georgia's content mixes with other local and national collections when DPLA launches in April. "Users all over the country are going to be exposed to content that tells the story of the country in a way they haven't been able to do before," she explained, saying she sees  "so much potential to help fill out that nuanced history of our country."

    The Digital Library of Georgia's first exhibit for the Digital Public Library of America will focus on American social movements and feature some of the collection's unique civil rights content. Current partners span libraries, archives, museums and educational institutions of every size. 

    Below, McAlister talks more about her hope for the project's future and what she sees as major challenges, including metadata alignment across the diverse institutions involved, access to materials that are not in the public domain, and keeping project momentum and interest going so that the general public becomes just as excited about digital library as librarians are.

    Could tell me about your organization and how you became involved with the Digital Public Library of America?

    S.M: The Digital Library of Georgia is the cultural heritage digitization initiative for the state of Georgia. We work with libraries, archives, museums,and other institutions of education, and we help them take their important historical content and put it online for everybody all over the country to use—all over the world, even.

    What's unique about the collections that you have at the Digital Library of Georgia?

  • Article

    A plan for libraries to aggregate metadata into one central portal

    March 22, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    A plan for libraries to aggregate metadata into one central portal

    The following is part of a series that looks at The Digital Public Library of America  - the first national effort to aggregate existing records in state and regional digital libraries so that they are searchable from a single portal. It is written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight Foundation.

    Digital Public Library of America Director of Content Emily Gore has helped set an ambitious agenda for the DPLA launch in April - one that she says should "turn the people out there who are skeptics into believers." The project's mission, she explains, "really is to become the national digital library of the United States." DPLA is making that happen not by building its own collection, but by bringing together the metadata from existing large institutions and state and regional aggregations around the country into one central portal.

    The United States has seen large aggregation efforts before - The Digital Library Federation's Aquifer portal, for example - but nothing on this scale with this mission has been attempted. Gore explains that many other countries have had an easier time getting their national digital libraries off the ground because they "have a natural organizational government structure where libraries report up through a national library, so it's a more natural relationship … we don't have that in the United States."

    Gore attributes DPLA's success so far as being the result of "taking the time to plan and taking the time to really involve the community from the very beginning … so that there are people invested beyond just the people running the project." Part of that planning has been working on how to build DPLA to accommodate all of the metadata variations in the United States, and then also to think globally so that DPLA can interact with other digital libraries around the world.

    DPLA has already partnered with Europeana—the digital library of Europe—to launch a joint exhibition on immigration from Europe to the United States. The project "Leaving Europe: A New Life in America" has already become Europeana's most popular exhibit, and Gore anticipates more collaboration in the future. Europeana is already planning, for example, to use DPLA's open API in April to build a joint-search tool that would allow users to search both aggregations at once.

    The Europeana partnership is possible in part because of DPLA's commitment to open data—a commitment that Europeana shares. Gore explains DPLA's model, saying, "one of the fundamental principles is openness, and that's in the code base; that's in the metadata; that's in the communication; that's in the community." What that means is that DPLA will open its back door so that anyone can use the metadata for new creations. Gore hopes that this openness will make the DPLA collections more shareable and accessible to all—and open up the possibility of a truly global digital library in the future.

    In this interview, Gore talks about the challenges of aggregating diverse metadata into DPLA, thinking globally in building a code base, making the collection as comprehensive and inclusive as possible, and how to build long-term sustainability for this exciting, new project.

    RELATED LINKS

    "Building the Digital Public Library of America

    "Digitizing Georgia's cultural heritage

    "Showcasing Kentucky's oral history newspaper collections"

    Could you tell us about your mission for the Digital Public Library of America?

    The mission really is to become the national digital library for the United States. Many countries have done this already, and many have a natural organizational government structure where libraries report up through a national library, so it's a more natural relationship. And we don't have that in the United States. We operate very independently. We do have the Library of Congress, but they have their own separate mission, and it's not to be over other libraries like the organizational structure that exists in many other national libraries. That makes our challenge even greater here because we don't have a lot of top down to be able to do this.

    We feel like the time is right to begin to pull together this content that exists in the United States—pull together this metadata and provide broad access to this content. 

  • Article

    Building the Digital Public Library of America

    February 28, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Building the Digital Public Library of America

    The Digital Public Library of America will launch on April 18 after two and a half years of careful planning and preparation. The project known as 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. Up until now, the documents that tell the story of our nation’s history and cultural heritage have largely been siloed in state and local libraries, museums, and archives. Some institutions have the ability to digitize those valuable materials and put them online, but strained budgets mean that most do not.

    The project’s funding will also allow it to work with local communities to digitize their cultural-heritage—preserving them for the future and bringing them online as part of our first national digital library.

    RELATED LINK 

    "Digitizing Georgia's cultural heritage

    "Showcasing Kentucky's unique oral-history and newspaper collections

    "Showcasing Kentucky's unique oral-history and newspaper collections

    "A plan for libraries to aggregate metadata into one central portal"

    "Sharing oral histories from Minnesota's immigrant population"

    "South Carolina brings digital wealth to library project"

    DPLA will bring together access to a diverse host of materials that were once stored on a patchwork of different websites, or not online at all, including newspapers, photographs, letters, newsreels, oral histories, manuscripts, books and public records. This could be a game changer for academic researchers and historians, who will be able to see more apparent connections between various local histories, perhaps for the first time. Students, teachers and amateur historians will be able to peruse DPLA’s rich exhibits and learn about their own history and genealogy. And local communities will see their history preserved rather than lost to the deterioration of time.

  • Article

    Sharing oral histories from Minnesota's immigrant population

    March 27, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Sharing oral histories from Minnesota's immigrant population

    The following is part of a series that looks at The Digital Public Library of America  - the first national effort to aggregate existing records in state and regional digital libraries so that they are searchable from a single portal. It is written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight Foundation.

    The Minnesota Digital Library currently serves as a hub for more than 150 libraries and cultural heritage organizations around the state, and aspires to "expand that dramatically" working with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Associate University Librarian at the University of Minnesota and service hub Director John Butler describes the Minnesota Digital Library' s current partners as spanning "from academia to Main Street." He is particularly interested in trying to partner with urban community groups to reach into new content areas, such as bringing oral histories from Minnesota's immigrant and refugee population including the Hmong and Somali communities, into the archive.

    RELATED LINKS

    "Building the Digital Public Library of America

    "A plan for libraries to aggregate metadata into one central portal"

    "Digitizing Georgia's cultural heritage

    "Showcasing Kentucky's oral history newspaper collections"

     

    The Minnesota Digital Library first online exhibit for the DPLA will showcase its impressive collections of images and documents from its Native American cultures and populations. But the collaboration will, as a whole, bring a wealth of diverse materials to DPLA—more than 130,000 items spanning topics as far ranging as Vaudeville, ice palaces and the historic Twin Cities’ streetcars.

    In this interview, Butler talks about the DPLA's data-related challenges in this massive undertaking, such as record duplication and record disparities. But more importantly, he speaks of the immense possibilities this data aggregation presents for understanding our cultural history; and the way that DPLA could change how to do research.

    Could you tell me about your organization and how you became involved with the Digital Public Library of America?

    J.B: My affiliation with the DPLA primarily comes through the Minnesota Digital Library, which is a statewide collaboration consisting of Minitex, a library resource-sharing network in our region (Minnesota and the Dakotas), the University of MinnesotaMinnesota Historical Society, and other key institutions large and small throughout the state of Minnesota, such as academic and public libraries, art and historical museums, clubs, and others. We have numerous religious and non-profit organizations, genealogists, history hobbyists—spanning academia down to Main Street. The participating organizations are represented in the management and advisory functions at the Minnesota Digital Library, as well as in the collections that we have built over the past eight or so years.

    I think it was the Minnesota Digital Library’s tremendous diversity and sheer number of contributors that attracted DPLA’s interest in our prospects as an initial participant. We have over 150 content contributors to Minnesota Digital Library that on Day One of DPLA launch will be represented at the national level, and by means of the project, we hope to expand the number of contributors dramatically.

    Could you tell me about the types of contributors you're looking to reach out to?

  • Article

    South Carolina brings digital wealth to library project

    April 2, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    South Carolina brings digital wealth to library project

    The following is part of a series that looks at The Digital Public Library of America  - the first national effort to aggregate existing records in state and regional digital libraries so that they are searchable from a single portal. It is written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight Foundation. Photo credit: Clemson University Libraries.

    The South Carolina Digital Library will bring a collage of historically rich documents  to the  Digital Public Library of America launch in April, with topics ranging from the Civil War and slavery to the development of the U.S. Park Service, said Chris Vinson, Clemson University Libraries' Head of Digital Initiatives and Technology.

    Vinson is the Digital Public Library  service-hub director for the South Carolina Digital Library, which currently hosts nearly 200,000 objects and adds about 20,000 new items a year, despite having no central, full-time employees. Vinson expects that South Carolina Digital Library's position as a  DPLA service hub will allow it to help state organizations digitalize more than they ever have before and bring communities together in sharing and learning about their local history.

    In this interview, Vinson shares his experience preparing the South Carolina Digital Library's metadata for submission to DPLA, excitement at being a part of the first major effort to aggregate our nation's cultural history, plans for South Carolina's first DPLA exhibit in April and hopes for the future of the project.

    Could you start by telling me about your organization and how you became involved with the Digital Public Library of America?

    C.V: Basically, it fell into our laps. The role that I fill now was previously filled by Emily Gore, who is Director of Content for DPLA, and I think she's always had that special bond with South Carolina, and she's always realized the power of the content that exists there. So, given that and our unique position and how our infrastructure for the digital library is set up—that we're a content-DM-only site—she saw all of those factors and determined that we're a really good test beta as a hub, just because we present so much diversity, and we do things in so many different ways and so differently from other places. 

    Can you tell me more about what's unique about your collections and your services?

  • Article

    Bringing the power of digital history to the Mountain West

    April 10, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Bringing the power of digital history to the Mountain West

    The following is part of a series that looks at The Digital Public Library of America  - the first national effort to aggregate existing records in state and regional digital libraries so that they are searchable from a single portal. It is written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight Foundation. Above: Copy of a woodcut showing the completion of the transcontinental railroad, May 10, 1869, at Promontory, Utah. From the Classified Photographs Collection of the Utah State Historical Society.

    The Mountain West Digital Library brings together repositories in Utah, Nevada, southern Idaho and Arizona, and is the only regional collaboration currently serving as a DPLA service hub. Mountain West's growth over the past 11 years has had a network effect. Program Director and DPLA service-hub Director Sandra McIntyre explains that it began with a core of academic libraries interested in learning about digitization, then spread into the communities around each of those institutions, bringing 120 cultural-heritage groups into the aggregation over the past decade, including public libraries, historical societies, county and state archives and even local museums. But there is much more Mountain West can do, and McIntyre hopes that its position as a DPLA service hub will "help to accelerate the preservation and … access [to] valuable materials around the region."

    The Mountain West Digital Library's position as a regional collaborative brings unique challenges, particularly with regards to funding, but it also allows users to see how topics play out across a larger area. 

    In this interview, McIntyre talks about what DPLA's mission to forge links between libraries, archives and museums could mean for the cultural memory of our society; how it could help erase arbitrary lines between disciplines and democratize information in the United States; and the challenges involved in this ambitious undertaking.

    Could you tell me about your organization and how you became involved with the Digital Public Library of America?

    S.M: The Mountain West Digital Library is a collaborative effort about 11 years old now. We have over 60 partners—and we're about to expand to another 60—who came together through the academic library consortium in Utah to learn about digitization, to support each other, to share tips and tricks and ideas and to share the expertise and experience at different tier levels in our region. We have 20 different repositories throughout Utah, Nevada, southern Idaho, and now Arizona, that support all of our partners in digitizing and hosting their projects and making them available from one, central search portal—an aggregated search portal called the Mountain West Digital Library.

  • Article

    YOUMedia Miami: a creative space for teens to experiment with digital media

    July 24, 2013 by Annie Schutte

    Knight Foundation’s Library Initiative supports libraries in 27 cities to become digital community centers that help foster informed and engaged communities. The following explores the foundation supported project, YOUMedia Miami. It is written by Annie Schutte, a librarian, teacher and consultant for Knight. Below, the video “Soul Ground” was filmed, edited and sound directed by Khaleel Bailey, age 18.

    It’s a rainy afternoon in May, and yet the North Dade Regional Library's YOUMedia lab is packed with teens who have made their way to the space from five area high schools. YOUMedia Miami offers library-card-carrying students ages 14-19 a creative space to learn about digital media and collaborate with other teens on projects ranging from animation to video production to online journalism.

    VIEW STUDENT PROJECTS CREATED AT YOUMEDIA MIAMI:

    "YOUMedia Miami helps teen prepare for college"

    "Teen filmmaker documents impact of YOUMedia Miami"

    "YOUMedia Miami inspires young people to create creatively"

    "Miami teen uses maker space to launch digital project"

    "YOUMedia inspires teen to study audio production"

    The lab first opened its doors in February 2012 with the goal of signing up 200 students in its first year. It blew past that goal by November 2012 and today has served about 500 teens, with more coming into the lab every day.

    YOUMedia’s success in Miami came about almost as quickly as its inception. Knight Foundation Vice President for the Arts Dennis Scholl and Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Jorge Martinez visited YOUMedia Chicago in 2011 and approached Miami-Dade Public Library Director Raymond Santiago about bringing the program to Miami. Santiago had also recently visited YOUMedia Chicago and loved the idea.

    Santiago brought the idea back to his team at the Miami-Dade Public Library, and they began identifying a potential space, sketching out the program requirements and looking for funding. Knight stepped in with an $805,755 grant to renovate the space, purchase equipment and support the program for its first two years.