Frequently Asked Questions

This page includes answers to some questions that many institutions have about joining TDL’s DPLA Aggregation Service. We intend for this documentation to grow over time; if you have any additional questions about DPLA or metadata aggregation, please email us at

What kind of materials can I share metadata about with DPLA?

DPLA aggregates metadata records for items that are freely and openly available online, with a focus on cultural heritage materials. Text, image, audio, and video resources are all great contributions to DPLA. 

All items shared through DPLA must be freely and openly available online. Records that do not link to a full digital representation of the object (e.g. metadata-only records) are not accepted. Resources that are not publicly accessible are also not accepted in DPLA, such as embargoed or restricted items or items behind a login or paywall.

TxHub does not currently aggregate theses and dissertations, faculty works, or other scholarly publications. We also do not encourage the inclusion of serialized content such as newspapers described at the issue level, or of archival finding aids described at the box or folder level.

For more information, see DPLA’s Collection Development Guidelines.

Yes. Materials with any copyright status can be shared with DPLA. It is up to your institution to determine what can be legally and ethically shared online.

DPLA does require that every record include a rights field. Whenever possible, TDL and DPLA recommend that the rights field include specific information about the rights status of the item, rather than a generic statement. For example, if you know that materials are currently under copyright or in the public domain, the rights field should state that.

Ideally, records should include standardized rights statements, which DPLA uses to generate the “How Can I Use It?” filter. For more resources about using standardized rights statements, see the DPLA Rights Portal.

Copyright in the materials remains with whoever is the copyright owner, whether that is the original creator of the material, the institution who now has custody of the item, or another party. No copyright in the resource itself is transferred as part of the DPLA aggregation process.

However, one of the requirements of contributing metadata to DPLA is that the metadata itself is released under a CC0 public domain declaration. This only applies to the metadata, not to the resources themselves. Find out more in the DPLA Policy Statement on Metadata.

What collections should I contribute first?

The choice of which collections to share with DPLA is up to your institution. Some institutions include all of their collections as soon as they begin sharing with DPLA, others start with a few collections and add more over time. 

TDL recommends including enough representative collections during your initial harvest to create a comprehensive metadata mapping. Since the mapping we develop during onboarding will be the basis for all future harvests, making sure that it will work for most of your collections will be helpful down the line. 

Do I have to clean up my metadata before sharing it with DPLA?

The only minimum requirements for metadata in DPLA are that each record needs a title and rights field. So if your records have those two things, they can be shared with DPLA! We know that metadata creation is an on-going process and that some access is better than none, so TDL does not believe that “imperfect” metadata should be a barrier to participating in DPLA.

Of course, richer, more complete, and standardized metadata will help your items be discovered among the millions of items in DPLA. Any investments your institution is able to make to improve your metadata will help more people find your resources. The TDL DPLA Metadata Guidelines and DPLA Metadata Quality Guidelines are both good resources for recommendations about how to help your metadata work well in DPLA. TDL staff are also available to discuss metadata quality and DPLA.

Will I get reports on how often my content is viewed in DPLA?

Yes, DPLA provides usage statistics for each institution who shares metadata with them. Data is available about how many times your items are viewed in the DPLA portal, how many times users click through from DPLA to your repository, how many times your metadata records are accessed via DPLA’s open API, and where in the world viewers of your records are located.

TDL is still exploring the best ways to share analytics data with our members. We’re looking forward to working with our members to find the most useful way to share this data.

How long does the on-boarding process take for TDL’s DPLA aggregation service?

The on-boarding process can vary, based on a variety of factors. We aim to include new members in the soonest possible quarterly harvest after they join the aggregation service, usually within 3-5 months. However, TDL’s staff capacity or other factors may require scheduling new members’ first harvests further out.

What is TxHub?

TxHub is the DPLA service hub for the state of Texas and acts as the conduit for cultural heritage institutions in Texas to share metadata about their digital collections with DPLA. TxHub is a collaborative effort between The Portal to Texas History, maintained by the University of North Texas, and Texas Digital Library. 

In addition to sharing metadata from their members and partners, The Portal to Texas History and TDL jointly participate in the DPLA member network.  TxHub is a DPLA Member Hub.

How is TDL’s DPLA Aggregation service different from the Portal to Texas History?

As the two sides of TxHub, TDL and The Portal to Texas History offer complementary pathways for institutions to share their digital collections with DPLA, in addition to their other services. The Portal to Texas History provides a repository that contains digital objects along with their metadata, as well as providing a number of other services for digitizing materials. All materials hosted in the Portal are shared with DPLA. 

TDL’s DPLA Aggregation Service provides a pathway for institutions that host their own digital repositories to share their collections with DPLA. As an aggregator, TDL harvests metadata records (not full digital objects) from participating members and shares that metadata with DPLA. The digital objects themselves remain in the institution’s repository.