Minnesota Digital Library 11th Annual Meeting

Over 120 staff from libraries, archives, historical societies, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions attended the Minnesota Digital Library's 11th Annual Meeting on June 4, 2013.

This year the keynote speaker and a number of sessions focused on the theme of digital storytelling. Simply put, digital storytelling refers to a social movement to use computer tools to help everyone share their life or family stories. As such, digital storytelling takes many forms. In Minnesota, creative technology-driven people have been at the forefront of applying a documentary approach to new media and technology platforms to tell those stories. From immersive media installations to learning games, from storytelling on the web to interactive computer kiosks, from documentary films to inventive uses of social media, digital resources have been used to engage audiences with narratives that were and still are absent from traditional media.

Along with the morning keynote and Minnesota Digital Library Update presentation, the afternoon offered six breakout sessions on digital storytelling, digital preservation, Minnesota and the Digital Public Library of America, using tablets for museum tours, building connections with social media, and free and easy tools to create timelines (Timeline JS) and other visualizations of digital content (Viewshare and HistoryPin).

Keynote Address

Keynote speaker Michael Mouw discussed the recent trend of using digital storytelling as a way to connect emotionally and intellectually with audiences. He discussed documentary projects that illustrate the use of digital archival materials as the foundation of digital storytelling. Mr. Mouw also addressed changes in computer software and hardware, and changes in digital and analog media over the past 30 years, and explained the processes behind creating digital documentaries for a variety of delivery platforms and channels.

Presentations

Minnesota Digital Library Update

Members from the MDL Management Team presented updates on Minnesota's contribution to the Digital Public Library of America, What's new in Minnesota Reflections, metadata changes for Minnesota Reflections contributors, digital preservation activity in Minnesota, and an update on the Minnesota digital newspaper project. Watch the full recording below.

Think Like a Documentary Filmmaker

Presenter Michael Mouw focused on trends in software and hardware tools for making documentaries from digital collections. Attendees learned about the wide range of processes, resources, and tools available for the beginner documentarian and the professional.

Digital Public Library of America: Minnesota's Contribution

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) provides a window into America's history and culture through its digital libraries. The Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) was one of six U.S. state and regional digital libraries selected as an initial "service hub" to the DPLA. Presented by Jason Roy, this session profiled the DPLA, its inspirations, and initial set of services; and then described Minnesota's contributions to this national initiative.

Professional Connections and Social Media

Scott Stulen from the Walker Art Center provided a beginner level overview of popular social media tools, common to some in the museum and archives professions and still a mystery to others. The session also outlined pointers for getting the most out of these social media tools.

Digital Preservation: Keeping the Promise of our Digital Legacy

Along with numerous organizations across the state, the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) has made significant investments in the creation of digital collections, making them wonderfully accessible to our communities and the world. Often an afterthought, if a thought at all, digital preservation is the next investment we need to make to ensure continual access to and usefulness of our digital collections over time.

In response to the growing need to preserve our digital cultural and scientific record, the University of Minnesota Libraries, in partnership with the MDL and others, aim to develop a scalable, extensible, and possibly state-wide digital preservation service.

This presentation by John Butler and Jon Nichols provided an overview of digital preservation, an evolving plan to establish a digital preservation program for the MDL and other institutions sharing similar needs, and an opportunity to express digital preservation needs, concerns, and ideas of the organizations attending the session.

Need a Cheap Date? Free But Easy Online Tools to Promote Digital Collections

Attendees learned about free but easy online tools—Timeline JS, History Pin, and Viewshare—for presenting digital content online for three organizations: University of St. Thomas; St. Cloud State University; Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Digital Resources, Tablets, and Tours

Informed by an early research project at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, tour guides at museums are now using tablets to enhance group tours. Presented by Sheila McGuire, attendees learned about their research, applications, and workflows for integrating and managing new media in group tours inside and outside the museum.