Georgia HomePLACE—Providing Library and Archives Collections Electronically—encourages public libraries and related institutions across the state to participate in The Digital Library of Georgia (a gateway to Georgia’s history and culture), which is an initiative of GALILEO (Georgia’s Virtual Library). HomePLACE offers a highly collaborative model for digitizing primary source collections related to local history and genealogy. HomePLACE is supported with Federal LSTA funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
The mission of Georgia HomePLACE is to:
- Enable public libraries and related institutions to create digital collections of unique items that highlight institutional holdings and tell the stories of their communities;
- Make these items accessible online to a wide audience via the Digital Library of Georgia and the Digital Public Library of America;
- Provide archives and preservation training opportunities for public library staff.
This mission is in line with the larger missions of the Georgia Public Library Service to “ensure equal access to information and technology” and “foster a culture of learning statewide.”
The Digital Library of Georgia currently includes material from the holdings of 116 partner institutions and 632 collections throughout the state, totaling 475,201 items as of June 2017. Local public library project management is coordinated by Georgia HomePLACE.
Many small and rural public libraries and other heritage institutions in Georgia are in possession of unique, irreplaceable material highlighting the history of their communities. In the majority of instances, these institutions require additional staffing, expertise, and resources to make these treasures widely available to the public. The infrastructure to ensure long-term access to online collections is often a major stumbling block for small institutions.
HomePLACE shifts focus from funding repetitive projects at individual institutions, to a collaborative model which centralizes infrastructure and supports community projects at the local level. The initiative provides participating libraries and their partners with training in various aspects of digital project development and management including: selection, copyright research, digital imaging, metadata creation, evaluation, assessment, and promotion. HomePLACE staff develops and maintains project standards, guidelines, and best practices which are based on existing standards used by the Digital Library of Georgia, the Digital Public Library of America, and the larger digitization community. Standards are maintained on a publicly accessible project documentation site.
The physical collections are housed locally by owning institutions around the state, while the digital collections are housed by the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO initiative. Participating institutions work with HomePLACE to create a tailored digitization plan that can include selection, scanning, and describing items which tell the stories of their communities.
HomePLACE also provides on-location services to participating institutions. Traveling staff assist participating institutions with everyday scanning issues, provide specialized scanning on-location (e.g., scanning of large-format items), and train participants in-person.
Collaboration is a critical aspect of the initiative. Identification, research, and cataloging of objects is achieved in a collaborative manner. Collaboration is encouraged between public libraries and strategic partners such as historical societies, museums, government agencies, schools and local subject experts.
HomePLACE collections are made up of items of historical and cultural significance. These include: historic newspapers, old photographs, historical texts, memorabilia & ephemera, scrapbooks, maps, artwork, objects & artifacts, etc. Video and audio files (e.g., oral histories, lectures, footage, interviews) are also part of the online collection. Many of these collections include unique historical resources not previously available in digital format.
Collections aggregated into the Digital Library of Georgia are ingested by the Digital Public Library of America—improving access to items across the state and the country, ensuring better consistency across the collections, and providing researchers with the choice to search across multiple collections or limit searches within one collection. HomePLACE can create a customized landing page for participating institutions, allowing for better integration with their own web presence and online collections or catalogs.
The Digital Library of Georgia is an OAI-PMH compliant digital library and a registered repository with the Open Archives Initiative.
Materials that are clearly in the public domain will be given priority for digitization. Where public domain status is questionable, a decision will be made on a case by case basis. When materials are under copyright restrictions, they will not be digitized unless permission is obtained. HomePLACE items that fall under copyright protection remain under copyright protection. The Digital Library of Georgia is not interested in gaining copyright ownership or selling copies of the images. All requests for use or reproduction of the images will be referred to the owning institutions.
In order to preserve digital surrogates and provide long-term access to the collection, the Digital Library of Georgia can, on request, preserve high-resolution copies in long-term “dark” storage. Low-resolution images, such as publication and thumbnail copies, are available through DLG’s online interface.
For more information, please see the Digital Library of Georgia’s Collection Development Policy.
Georgia HomePLACE funding opportunities are available to public libraries, and nominations for collections are accepted year-round. HomePLACE will work individually with partner institutions to locate outside funding and grant opportunities.