A group of top American libraries and academic institutions launched a new centralized research resource today, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), making millions of resources (books, images, audiovisual resources, etc.) available in digital format. First hatched as an idea at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the DPLA is now realizing its vision of being “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that draws on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in the current and future generations.”
The Digital Public Library of America rolls out today as a beta site with some kinks to work out. Some links to materials don’t work at the other end. And right now the offering is built around a modest number of online exhibitions that have been digitized by cultural institutions throughout the country, according to Robert Darnton, a driving force behind the DPLA. When you visit the site, a dynamic map and timeline will help you navigate the collections by year, decade or place. It will lead you to exhibitions, for example, about the Great Depression and Roosevelt’s New Deal, Boston’s storied sports temples, and Prohibition in the US. Around this core, the DPLA will grow until it truly serves as the digital public library of America.
You can read more about Robert Darnton’s vision for the Digital Public Library of America in the pages of The New York Review of Books.
via Harvard Press