Islandora: Harvesting to DPLA and other Aggregators

Digital Public Library of America (

Digital Public Library of America (

Charlottetown, PE —  Islandora enables discovery, interoperability and reuse of digital resources, making them available to aggregators such as the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). It’s standard functionality,  right out-of-the-box. 

Islandora is a suite of modules that integrate Drupal, Apache Solr and Fedora Commons together, providing a robust feature set for building digital repositories. One such module is called Islandora OAI. It’s a standard and easy to use module that makes repository content harvestable via the Open Archives Initiative for Protocol Harvesting (OAI-PMH). This protocol is used to harvest metadata to DPLA, Europeana, Trove and many other aggregators. 

An example of this kind of project is Digital Culture of Metropolitan New York (DCMNY). It’s an Islandora digital repository for Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) members, which also serves as an on-ramp to DPLA. Also, METRO administers the Empire State Digital Network (ESDN), the service hub for the state of New York. It harvests metadata from DCMNY as well as other Islandora digital repositories around the state to contribute to DPLA. 

Chris Stanton, Metadata Specialist with ESDN and Anne Karle-Zenith, Digital Services Manager of METRO, spoke about harvesting content from Islandora to DPLA in a recent webinar. 

“We found that the Islandora OAI module has been really successful for us. Once enabled, the module is straightforward to configure and makes it easy to share records with projects like the DPLA”, says Chris Stanton. Aside from being easy to use, Chris says the harvesting process has had a positive impact. “One of the goals of ESDN and one of the exciting parts of it that got people really motivated to contribute work was the opportunity to go back and think about and improve local metadata on top of contributing to DPLA. The positive impacts have been two-fold.” 

Impacts of the project are growing. “Content contributors are beginning to see the benefits of being harvested”, says Anne Karle-Zenith. “DPLA recently released a set of primary source sets for educators, which included content from one of the collections in our repository in a resource about the Harlem Renaissance. The content contributor was completely thrilled.”  

To learn more about Islandora’s harvesting capability, please contact us at