Frequently Asked Questions

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What is DPLA, again?

DPLA is the Digital Public Library of America. They’re a portal to the digitized cultural heritage collections across the United States, and free and open for anyone to use.

Aren’t we just handing over all our stuff to DPLA? That doesn’t seem like a good idea.

No, not at all. DPLA works directly with the metadata you make available, and not the files for the items themselves. You retain ownership and all rights and licenses currently held. All digitized items still ‘live’ with you, and the site actually links users back to your collection. Great news for your stats!


And what is ODN?

ODN is the Ohio Digital Network, Ohio’s DPLA Service. DPLA works with Hubs located across the county to obtain the items for their site, and the Ohio Digital Network is a statewide effort and project to coordinate our digitized collections and get them online with DPLA.

Why should we participate?

DPLA’s mission falls in line with the mission of libraries, museums, and historical societies across the country: making our collections accessible to all.

We want everyone in the world to see what treasures Ohio holds, and this centralized national project is a great way to make that happen!

How much does participation in the Ohio Digital Network cost?

There is no charge to be a member of ODN, or to have your digitized collections made available in DPLA. Your organization may need to make staff available to align your metadata to DPLA’s standards.

So what do I need to do to be a part of the Ohio Digital Network?

Your institution will need to sign a Contributor Agreement with ODN that allows us to send your metadata to DPLA, and states that you will align that metadata to the standards set by ODN (available in the MAP). There’s more info on the process on our Getting Started page, but if you have any questions please contact us!


We don’t have a very big collection, can we still participate?

Absolutely! There is no minimum number of items needed to participate in DPLA.
And you don’t have to do your entire collection at once, either. Many institutions have found it easier to start with a small collection of selected items and add more as they keep working on metadata remediation.
We are happy to support the workflow that fits best with your institution’s needs and goals.

MAP (Metadata Application Profile)

Who is the Provider when I look at an item record in DPLA? Should I have that field in my metadata?

The Provider is the hub that sends the data to DPLA. In our case that will always be ODN. You don’t need to have this field in your metadata since it is already listed automatically. You will be credited as the Data Provider on all of DPLA’s records, and of course all of the URLs will link back to the record on your website.

Since we have to have a Standardized Rights Field in all of our records, is that something that you can do for us automatically? Can you map our rights fields to one of the Standardized Rights Statements?

Unfortunately, no. DPLA is now requiring Standardized Rights Statements for all of their records, in order to promote the best user experience. We are unable to add Standardized Rights Statements to your individual records. There are 12 Standardized Rights Statement choices found at You will need to determine which statement best matches each individual record in your collection. Collections may have items that are both in copyright, and not in copyright. When updating your records to add the Standardized Rights Statement URI, please make sure you only put only the relevant URI in the field, and not any other text. If you have any questions, please contact us.

What DCMI type should I use for a video, gif, or other moving picture?

According to the DCMI type vocabulary, image is any visual representation other than text. Image is used for all images including videos. If you want to refine the term, you can use the term MovingImage.

Can DPLA convert URIs for names in fields such as the creator field?

At this time, no. DPLA does not convert name URIs.