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Member Program Description


The Mountain West Digital Library (“MWDL”) is the regional digital collaboration of memory institutions in the Mountain West (“Collections Partners”), founded by the Utah Academic Library Consortium and hosted at the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library. Collections Partners include research libraries, public libraries, school libraries, museums, historical societies, municipalities, counties, and state agencies across the region. Collections Partners’ digital collections reside on digital asset management system repositories at various locations around the region (“Hosting Hubs”). The University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library is a Collections Partner and a Hosting Hub in the MWDL collaborative.

Through collaborative efforts across this distributed network, MWDL provides services to its Collections Partners, including standards development, digitization services, hosting services, and metadata services. MWDL aggregates and enhances metadata from all Collections Partners into an open-access portal with powerful search features, at Collections Partners collaborate to develop common standards and best practices for managing digital collections and metadata.

MWDL serves as a regional Service Hub of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) network, providing the on-ramp for Collections Partner metadata to be harvested into DPLA for access via the national digital library portal at and for coordination with DPLA policies, standards, tools, and services.

We use the term “partner” informally throughout this document. All Collections Partners are either independent and separate legal entities or are divisions or units of independent and separate legal entities. Within the MWDL collaborative, the relationship between Collections Partners is cooperative only and is not one of partnership, joint venture, employment or agency for legal purposes. No party is responsible for the actions of any other party.

Member Program Overview

  • MWDL instituted a member program starting on July 1, 2015, implementing the proposal submitted by the MWDL Advisory Committee (“Member Program”).
  • Hosting Hubs participating in the Member Program and paying membership dues (each a “Member”) desire to work with MWDL to pursue the Mutual Goals (below).
  • Each Member shall enter into a Member Agreement with MWDL.

Mutual Goals

MWDL and Member wish to work together to help memory institutions share our region’s cultural and scientific heritage, via three facets of collaboration:

  • Discovery
    • Share metadata from digital collections repositories in the Mountain West region.
    • Improve and maintain the MWDL regional portal at
  • DPLA On Ramp
    • Share metadata for access via the DPLA national portal at
  • Digital Library Community
    • Continue to develop and adopt common best practices for digital libraries across the Mountain West region, in accordance with evolving national practice.
    • Pursue other projects and issues of common concern as decided by the Members.

Common Principles

  • Commitment to open access to and free use and re-use of metadata
  • Commitment to free online access to digital content to the extent possible given existing rights to the content
  • Commitment to collaboration and collectively developing and maintaining best practices among Members and other partners of the MWDL collaborative

Access to Shared Metadata

MWDL user access. Member acknowledges that MWDL is sharing Member’s metadata from harvested records with users via its online portal at Metadata is shared via the portal application-programming interface in various ways and may from time to time be shared directly with other parties for appropriate purposes.

DPLA user access. Member acknowledges that MWDL is sharing Member’s metadata from harvested records with the DPLA in accordance with DPLA policies, including but not limited to these policies:

MWDL Roles and Responsibilities

MWDL’s goal is to provide basic services to Members to support regional aggregation and collaboration and to serve as the regional on-ramp to the Digital Public Library of America. Services offered include:

  • Harvesting set-up:
    • Conformance testing of Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) of Member’s repository server OAI stream
    • Metadata aggregation: auditing, harvesting, normalization, enhancement
  • Ongoing harvesting:
    • Metadata aggregation: auditing of metadata of newly offered collections
    • Metadata aggregation: incremental harvesting, normalization, and enhancement of data at a frequency determined by the Discovery Web Services team at the J. Willard Marriott Library (usually weekly)
  • Improving and maintaining the regional discovery portal at and reporting basic usage statistics to members
  • Providing the on-ramp to the Digital Public Library of America national portal at, subject to DPLA’s policies, actions, and workload
    • Working with DPLA on metadata standards and best practices for including MWDL records in the national portal
    • Working with DPLA to maintain and improve the harvesting process
    • Exposing MWDL metadata for harvest by DPLA on a regular basis, at a frequency determined by DPLA (currently quarterly)
  • Facilitating collaborative discussions among Members to develop and adopt best practices and standards across the MWDL network
  • Conducting outreach to new repositories in the region to become Members of MWDL

MWDL will harvest digital collections metadata only from digital collections that are specifically approved for sharing by the Member. MWDL will decline to harvest metadata from digital collections that do not meet the criteria established by collaborative policies and guidelines adopted by the Members (the “Criteria”). All records that conform to DPLA standards will be made available for DPLA harvest as well. Upon request by the Member, MWDL will remove collections from the MWDL portal, usually within 30 days; removal from the DPLA portal will occur at the next harvest by DPLA subsequent to the removal by MWDL.

Although MWDL’s goal is to provide timely harvesting of metadata, MWDL cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so. Under no circumstances shall a party be responsible for actions of others or events outside of its reasonable control.

Due to staffing and funding limitations, MWDL is not working to accomplish any of the following at this time, and such services will not be provided by MWDL to Members, although some of these goals may be met incidentally in the course of providing the services above:

  • Training and technical support services to Collections Partners about digitization, metadata, and rights
  • Outreach to new Collections Partners

Member Roles and Responsibilities

  • Member may contribute to the MWDL digital library community through participation in member meetings and participation in some task forces and interest groups.
  • Member will have the opportunity to contribute to MWDL governance in accordance with the “Governance” section below.
  • Member will prepare and offer digital collections metadata for harvest according to generally accepted best practices for library and archives materials and in conformance with the Criteria.
  • Member will set up automated metadata provision on its repository in conformance with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, described at, or via other mutually acceptable sharing protocols or methods, in such a fashion as to maintain congruence between the offered metadata records and the digital resources they represent.
  • Member will be responsive to requests from MWDL staff for changes to metadata and data provision so that records conform to the Criteria.
  • Member will notify MWDL when new collections are ready to be harvested.
  • Member agrees to pay annual membership dues and set-up fees at the rates described in its Member Agreement.

Provisions for Termination

If, despite MWDL’s efforts, MWDL staff determines that it is not feasible or practical for MWDL to harvest the metadata from a repository, whether because of lack of conformance to the Criteria or other reason, MWDL may terminate the Member Agreement upon written notice to Member.

If MWDL does not harvest the metadata within four months from MWDL’s initial access to a digital repository of a Member, and the failure of MWDL to harvest within this period is not due to Member’s failure to be responsive to requests from MWDL staff for changes to metadata and data provision so that they conform to the Criteria, then the Member may terminate the Member Agreement between Member and MWDL upon written notice to MWDL.

In the event of any termination pursuant to this section, the Member’s current year’s annual membership dues will be reimbursed to Member. Please note that set-up fees are not reimbursable. The termination rights and reimbursement of membership dues as described above shall be the parties’ sole remedies.


A formal governance structure of MWDL will be developed and adopted by MWDL during the first year of the new Member Program, by June 30, 2016.


MWDL acknowledges the long-term support of the Utah Academic Library Consortium and the J. Willard Marriott Library for establishing the MWDL collaborative and its services to memory institutions in the region. Many thanks also go to the MWDL Advisory Committee for charting the course for sustainability and participation for the future.

Questions regarding the Member Program may be directed to MWDL Staff.


Member Program Description, rev. June 22, 2015