Related product Digital Collections (CONTENTdm)

DPLA Information and Documentation

Updated: October 2, 2023

This page serves as a central location for all of CARLI's information and documentation relating to DPLA, the IDHH, and best practices that CARLI libraries can use to improve their digital collections' metadata records.

See all DPLA has to offer from their main DPLA page or view only the IDHH collections.


In 2015, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) added the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub (IDHH) to their organization.  The IDHH is a partnership between the Illinois State Library (ISL), Chicago Public Library (CPL), CARLI, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and serves as the DPLA Service Hub for the state of Illinois.  DPLA Service Hubs "...are state or regional collaborations that aggregate metadata from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions.

"Service hubs provide DPLA with their partners' unique metadata records that resolve to digital objects (online texts, photographs, manuscript material, artwork, etc.) through a single data feed, such as OAI-PMH. They serve as the point of contact for the maintenance and enhancement of metadata records." (from the DPLA Prospective Hubs webpage)

Currently, the IDHH partners provide:

  • Oversight and project management for the IDHH (ISL)
  • Help with metadata best practices and remediation (provided by UIUC)
  • A single point of metadata aggregation via the REPOX server (hosted by CARLI)
  • Marketing and outreach for current and future partners (CPL)

Collections that are part of CARLI Digital Collections are automatically included in DPLA if the IDHH has received the proper permissions from a collection's owning library.  If you have collections that are not part of CARLI Digital Collections and are interested in learning how you can participate in DPLA, please please email the .

Metadata Best Practices for Shareable Records

Metadata best practices by UIUC

Shareable metadata best practices documentation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More information from the metadata working group.

IDHH metadata workshops will be available as asynchronous webinars, as well as in-person workshops. If your institution is interested in hosting or participating in an in-person workshop for contributing institutions in your area, please email the .

Rights statement recommendations for collections harvested by DPLA

DPLA encourages the use of standardized rights statements for items they harvest.  To learn more about CARLI's recommendations on how to use these standardized rights statements in your collections, please visit Using for DPLA Collections.

A note on copyright: The copyright holder is not necessarily the institution that provides access to the resource, similarly digitization by the owner is not a significant enough transformation to legally justify a new copyright status for the digitized resource.When attributing a rights statement, it is recommended that the statement on an item be clear as to how a user can interact with the resource (use, permissions, reproductions, etc.) and if the statement is describing the original or digital item.

Sending restricted Images to DPLA when metadata is still viewable

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) regularly harvests collections from CARLI Digital Collections (CDC). As part of their rules, the DPLA does not allow any items with usage restrictions to be harvested—in CONTENTdm that means if an item is restricted to an IP address/range or to a specific user name. If a collection has any items with usage restrictions on them, the DPLA will refuse to harvest the entire collection.

The process CARLI uses to send metadata to DPLA automatically filters out items where BOTH the item AND its metadata are restricted. However, if you have item(s) in your collection where ONLY the image is restricted and end-users are allowed to view the item’s metadata, please see this page on our website for steps you need to take so CARLI can filter out the image-restricted items.

Metadata case studies from the CARLI Created Content Committee

The Created Content Committee was inspired by the addition of Illinois as a DPLA Service Hub to look at what it means to share metadata and create shareable metadata. As part of that effort, we are sharing these case studies written by members of the committee on projects we have worked on involving the migration or sharing of metadata. The case studies hope to illustrate the importance of good metadata and to help others to learn from our mistakes. There will be a total of four case studies throughout 2016-2017.

Case Study 1: Data Dictionary by Matthew Short, Metadata Librarian, Northern Illinois University

Case Study 2: Domesticating Wild Metadata: Harvesting Your Metadata into a Discovery Layer Using OAI-PMH Feeds by Margaret Heller, Digital Services Librarian, Loyola University Chicago

Case Study 3: Cleaning Up Legacy Data at Lewis University by Alice Creason, Head of Library Technology and Technical Services, Lewis University

Case Study 4: Small Archives Creating Descriptive Metadata from Scratch by Rebecca Skirvin, Coordinator of Archives and Special Collections, North Central College

Shareable metadata webinars

"Developing Shareable Metadata for DPLA" webinar presented by Hannah Stitzlein in July 2017

Program description: The Illinois Digital Heritage Hub (IDHH) released the IDHH Metadata Best Practices in early 2017 to assist contributing institutions with providing quality metadata to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). This program will provide an introduction to how metadata is viewed and interacted with in the DPLA environment, and will guide metadata specialists and contributing institutions how to use these best practices to create and develop quality metadata that operates well in DPLA. Recorded July 20, 2017. 45 minutes.

Webinar slides

"Shareable Metadata (Or Metadata for You and Me)" webinar presented by Sarah Shreeves in October 2010

Program description: This webinar describes principles of shareable metadata and discuss how metadata providers can think about how to design their metadata so that it can be useful outside of its own environment. Recorded October 5, 2010. ~1 hour.

Webinar slides (A subset of these slides were used during the presentation.)

IDHH Usage Statistics from DPLA

DPLA provides usage statistics for the IDHH collections. Statistics are generated by Google Analytics and include information such as total Illinois items viewed, top events by contributing institution, and top events by item title.

2023 Reports
DPLA usage statistics for January 2 - 31, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for January 30 - February 28, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for March 2 - 31, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for April 1 - 30, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for May 2 - 31, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for June 1 - 30, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for July 2 - 31, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for August 2 - 31, 2023
DPLA usage statistics for September 1 - 30, 2023

2017-2022 Reports
Historical DPLA Usage Statistics Reports

Organization Links

Digital Public Library of America

Illinois Digital Heritage Hub