November 24, 2020

DPLA Posts Update and FAQ About Recent Changes, Future Plans

UPDATE November 21 DPLA Board of Directors Responds to “Letter of Concern” (Linked Below) Signed by Members of DPLA Community
5 pages; PDF. As of 5pm today the “Letter of Concern” has 276 signatures. 

UPDATE November 15: Letter of Concern Signed by Members of DPLA and Library Community to DPLA Board

Note: Much of what’s mentioned in the update was also shared last Friday and Saturday in a Medium post by DPLA Executive Director, John Bracken, a letter to partners, and a presentation by Bracken at the LITA Forum. Here’s our post from last Saturday with links to all of this material.

From the Today’s DPLA Update (November 14, 2018):

2018-11-10_11-42-41For the past several months, the leadership and board of the Digital Public Library of America have been developing and refining a strategy that will enable us to build on the success of our first five years and ensure the long-term future of DPLA.

We recognized that in order to do so, we had to make the hard decision to reorganize and right-size our staff. As a result, last week we eliminated six positions, effective tomorrow, November 15. We know these changes have been difficult for all involved, especially, of course for the DPLA staff members whose positions were eliminated. We are grateful to these colleagues’ contributions over the years and are doing everything we can to ensure their ongoing career success.

Direct to Full Text Update

Q&A

Along with the update post, DPLA has also released a set of questions and answers on these topics:

  • Staff Changes
  • DPLA Hubs Network
  • Current & Future DPLA Initiatives & Projects
  • Additional Questions & Key Contacts

Here are a few questions and answers from the post (that answer questions that we’ve wondered about):

Q: What positions were eliminated?
A: The departing staff members include a developer, web designer, ebook team member, administrator, metadata librarian, and curation and education specialist. The remaining staff include senior leadership, communications, two developers, two staff members on the ebooks team, and a controller.

Q. Does DPLA have the capacity to deliver its current work and with the remaining staff?
A: In the short term, we are focusing on adjusting the roles of the remaining staff to ensure that we can continue to deliver on our core work, including regularly scheduled ingestion of content.

Q: Is DPLA abandoning cultural heritage aggregation?
A: Not at all. The national cultural heritage network, members, and increasing the visibility of making cultural heritage materials continue to be among DPLA’s top priorities. The remaining staff members’ roles will shift to ensure that we continue to communicate with, and meet the needs of, our partners.

Q: Why are you working in ebooks?
From DPLA’s inception, it has believed that libraries need to have a voice in the design and implementation of new digital platforms. DPLA Exchange was introduced this year to provide libraries and their users with ebook options that prioritize patron needs and maximize access to digital content.

Direct to Complete Q&A Post

Quick Comment From infoDOCKET Founder/Editor, Gary Price:

As I wrote last Saturday (after reading and listening to what DPLA shared at that time) and will say again after reading today’s update and Q&A is that more data as to the current state of DPLA is needed.

We read in today’s update post about the “significant milestones DPLA and the larger DPLA community have achieved this year”  but what about some guidance about why we are where we are at today. What is the current financial situation? Is the current financial situation the reason for the layoffs? Is DPLA usage increasing? What can user analytics tell us? Is DPLA Exchange adding revenue (or on track to do so in 2019?) to help fund cultural heritage work? You get the idea.

How about a document (or presentation) with the type of data and management comment/analysis you find in a quarterly or annual report. In other words, how about some DPLA 2018 facts?

While the Q&A adds a bit of new info without some basic data about the current state of DPLA it will be challenging for those without access to the data to comment on the future.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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