“hub of metadata” vs. “repository of content.”

[I became a dad last Thursday evening so the last week has been both amazingly exciting and also very difficult to find time for schoolwork in!   My wife and I are very happy and our new little boy Henry is healthy and a constant source of joy and sleep deprivation!]

And,  I’m finally ready to say something about HathiTrust.

I felt that the Christiansen and York articles did a great job of showing what makes HaithiTrust much different from, and an important alternative to Google Books.  Others have commented insightfully on those distinctions here.  Some of you have made good comments and observations about how HathiTrust might differ from DPLA in terms of its target audiences: a partnership of academic research institutions in the HathiTrust case vs. the general public in the DPLA case.

I am also interested in how HathiTrust might differ from DPLA in terms of content –where it will come from and where it will “live.”  One of the only real messages from the readings and videos regarding HaithTrust vs. DPLA was when HathiTrust director John Wilkin said during the Q & A after his keynote “We continue to be engaged with DPLA…. it’s often hard because DPLA hasn’t defined exactly what it is to define how we could relate to it.”  He went on to say that he thinks DPLA might end up being a “hub of metadata” similar to Europeana which would be different than HathiTrust which is a “repository of content.”

That was the impression I got from one of the videos we watched a couple weeks ago about DPLA that talked about an “exhibition” model where materials from various outside collections would be featured through the DPLA interface as “exhibitions.”  That’s the way Europeana currently functions.  Europeana’s “What We Do” statement says they “Aggregate,” “Facilitate,” “Distribute” and “Engage.”  Unless I’m missing something, they do not have a collection of material that you could call their own.  And DPLA’s Digital Hubs Pilot Project does seem to follow a very similar model to what Europeana is doing: serving as a hub to connect the general public to various collections of content.  If DPLA continues in this direction, it will be a fairly different project from HathiTrust both in its target audience and in its own content (or lack thereof).


5 responses to ““hub of metadata” vs. “repository of content.”

  1. Congratulation first.
    I am also curious what DPLA will present in April. I wish I could fly to Boston to attend.

  2. Yes, congrats on baby Henry, Brian. Your post was really helpful too in distinguishing this distinction between HathiTrust and DPLA. It still seems like DPLA is working out how to organize the storage of its resources, while HathiTrust is beyond that as an evolved project successful with preserving already secured and digitized materials.

    • Thanks for the congratulations. Yes I was struck by how evolved HathiTrust really is in terms of its organizational structure, clarity of mission, cost/pricing model,….. all are much more fleshed out for HathiTrust than DPLA. HathiTrust has clearly worked hard to build a sustainability model for the project and DPLA feels so far to be grasping at the first rungs of that ladder. Still, I can see some distinct and meaningful directions for DPLA that would work well in concert with HathiTrust I think.

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