Minnesota Digital Library

Marian Rengel, Outreach Coordinator, and Eric Celeste, Consultant, Minnesota Digital Library

The Minnesota Digital Library continues to work with organizations to digitize their collections and is now working with organizations to research providing a state-wide search mechanism. We are continuing our social networking project and anticipating a year of research and development in 2009-10. Marian Rengel will provide an update on the developments in the Minnesota Digital Library. She will also seek ideas from participants for future work of this organization.

Asked what people know about MDL in the audience. Some contributors present.

Get funding from MINITEX and mostly run by volunteers. Has a new grant to develop Minnesota Learning Commons

Help institutions to digitize on condition that they allow access through MDL.

Actuall three sites

  • Minnesota Reflections is main resource of compilations.
  • Minnesota Digital Library
  • Minnesota Finder

Grant for training in Pachyderm.

Web Page Tour

Four principal Projects.


18,000 titles 35,000 images.

St Nicoola collection is 1500 items.

One book can be many images. That is how it is recorded.

What they collect


Manuscripts (Hamline, Stillwater Public)

Anything handwritten must be transcribed.

Sinclair Lewis’ letter to his mistress

1st year stayed with photos not in copyright

Now accept present items after 3-4 years. 

Copyright is biggest issue

People may use items from MDL without asking for permission. Refer requests to Contributing instituions.

What you can do in Reflections

Basic search has zoom feature.

Review metadata from contributors but most of metadata comes from them.

Have to do the following to participate:

  • Do selection
  • Complete application
  • Send items to two sites – Minnesota Historical Society and ?
  • Must allow metadata to be sent to Worldcat

44 of 87 counties participating.

AWStats – open source stats collector

Can’t get information on individual items and can’t distinguish between computers and human hits.

If OCLC hosts then CONTENTdm will be able to track stats but not the licensed, institution-hosted version.

Social Side of Minnesota Reflections

Can read or post comments by clicking on green square button at bottom right of image viewer.

Woman entered comment that photo was her grandmother

Person named Stan who is entering corrections to metadata

Can help with Technical side but Institution needs to let go.

Flickr Commons

place explicitly for institutions to display their collections

Can have own logo

Exposed to a larger community.

Minnesota Historical Society has service called Water that has really taken off for social interaction.

Water is a service that can be used across the instituion.

How MDL can submit items to Flickr with one click (Institution must have own Flickr account) This is still testing.

Default privacy entry is on Private so that an item cannot be viewed.

Testing this with Jewish Historical Society Upper Midwest

Helps that they own the copyright to their images.

Must be willing to share material

CONTENTdm 5 will be able to handle diacritics but it cannot do it now.

Pachyderm (Open source) – MDL has grant to do training with this software.

Creates Flash-based learning objects

Uses templates (under development)

Stand-alone objects

Eighth grade teacher has allowed students to use it.

Presentation about this software tomorrow from users at the University of Minnesota.

Created by New Media Consortium in San Francisco.

Found real images of items represented into art and paintings. Compared them.

Educators pages

Ideas – Digital books about Minnesota.

If not a Contributor can still use Minnesota Finder, if participate in this collection is accessible to Google.

Pulls from other collections and displays info with origin institution.

License for only 100,000 items to index and expect to expand to 200,000.

Principle mission is to become digital for institutions, Educators – mission is to have access to digital collections.

Q: Comment aggregation?

A: Maybe, if keep same locations but add pointers.

Q: CONTENTdm run collections

A: Yes Reflections  – have to pay licenses, No – Comments are with PMWiki.

Q: Considering other types of objects like audio and 3D.

A: audio yes, but not 3D yet.  It is being developed. 

Carelton said they like the service.

Get masterfiles and JPEG thumbnails on CD.






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