Becoming a Service Hub

Service Hub Models, Roles, and Responsibilities

The current DPLA Service Hub network is made up of collaborations of all shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all model for Service Hub development, but there are some emerging trends including the sharing of resources, roles, and responsibilities: one institution does not need to provide all of the services. The work of a Service Hub involves metadata remediation, aggregation, governance, and outreach, and these activities are generally shared by multiple partners working together.

In addition to shared services, nearly all of the current Service Hubs provide a repository/delivery system that allows cultural heritage institutions that don’t have the capacity to purchase or host their own system to share their digital content. That centralized repository becomes an aggregation node and the metadata within it is merged with data from other individually hosted repositories that are run by single institutions, consortia, or collaboratives.

Service Hubs play a variety of important roles in the DPLA network. Service Hubs connect their partners of all sizes and backgrounds to DPLA and the broader global environment. They bring together metadata that resolves to digital objects (online texts, photographs, manuscript material, artwork, etc.) from libraries, historical societies, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions participating in their network, often hosting these resources locally, as well as sharing metadata and content previews (thumbnails, etc.) through DPLA. Service Hubs standardize this metadata so that it conforms to a single structure that can be shared with DPLA through one data feed. They are committed to working with DPLA on behalf of their geographic region.

Beyond these, Service Hubs often perform various other activities on behalf of their partners, including, but by no means limited to:

  • Digitization, long-term storage, and preservation;
  • Metadata assistance (quality assurance, normalization, standardization, and enhancement);
  • Engagement in challenges around aggregation locally and with other Hubs in the DPLA network;
  • Technology and tools development; and
  • Professional development and community outreach.

Service Hubs are structured in many ways and participate in DPLA activities and research at varying levels. Existing Service Hubs are administered by academic institutions, museums, state libraries, library consortia, and often a combination of these. Many represent hundreds of partners. No matter the partnership model, however, each Service Hub commits to the following.

  1. Representing their community (state, region, etc.) as the point of contact for DPLA and obtaining community buy-in on significant issues affecting their partners.
  2. Aggregating their partners’ metadata into a single standard and sharing it with DPLA through one harvestable data source.
  3. Actively addressing metadata concerns (including copyright and licensing labeling) and working with partners on timely remediation.
  4. Providing outreach to their partners and, with DPLA staff, developing local practitioners’ capacity on topics such as open data, data quality and standards, copyright and licensing, and other relevant subjects.
  5. Maintaining technologies (such as OAI-PMH, API, ResourceSync, etc.) that allow for standardized metadata to be shared with DPLA on a regular, consistent basis.
  6. Engaging with the broader community of data creators, providers, and users, locally and nationally.

Most of DPLA’s Service Hubs have also chosen to become part of DPLA’s Member Network.

The Hub Start-Up and Application Process

Organizations interested in becoming a Service Hub should begin with a conversation with DPLA staff. Following a series of discussions and a Hub start up meeting that brings together DPLA staff with key stakeholders in the state/region, partners in a potential Hub can proceed with the Service Hub application process, which is meant to aid organizations in understanding and preparing for the responsibilities of participating in the DPLA network as a Service Hub.

Applicants should be ready to begin working with DPLA staff immediately following the selection process to formalize the partnership and begin the process of preparing metadata for ingest.

We encourage potential partners to review the Service Hub Application for more information about what’s involved in being a Service Hub.

Applications are accepted at any time on the condition that the applicants have already met with DPLA staff. Currently, institutions in approximately half of the United States have some sort of on-ramp to DPLA. This program will continue to advance our goal of creating a pathway for participation in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
Download the Service Hub Application

Selection criteria and application review

Applications should be completed as fully as possible, and contain sufficient details for DPLA to understand administrative responsibilities, partnership structure, technology infrastructure and data workflows, and governance and funding models. DPLA is particularly interested in how institutions of all sizes and backgrounds are (or will be) represented in the local partnership, and how and when the Service Hub will create an on-ramp for any institution interested in participating. Finally, a strong application will include details about how the organizations that lead the Service Hub will be dedicated to community engagement, promoting use and reuse of the network’s digital collections, and developing a community of practice with their partners.

What happens after application review?

New Service Hubs will be notified of acceptance and meet with DPLA Content Team staff to review next steps, including completion of the following:

  1. Data Exchange Agreement (DAE). This binding document must be signed before DPLA can ingest a Service Hub’s metadata.
  2. Membership Agreement. This agreement establishes the Hub as a participant in DPLA’s Member Network.
  3. Metadata, Tech, and Content Information form. This document provides the DPLA data and technology staff with the information they need to begin working with a new Service Hub’s metadata and should be filled out when the new Hub has data ready for an initial ingest.

Once both of these forms are completed, it typically takes a few months (depending on the current state and complexity of a Service Hub’s metadata) for the new collection to move to production.