The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an ambitious project with the aim to bring together and make freely available to the world the incredibly rich resources from America’s libraries, archives and museums. The DPLA has partnered with six state and regional digital libraries, and an equal number of large cultural heritage institutions -including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Public Library, and Harvard University- in order to offerfree access to millions of digital objects. The DPLA is funded by foundations and government agencies.
“Many decades in the visioning, two and a half years in the planning, with a small steering committee and an incubation hub at the helm, and featuring dozens of great libraries, universities and archives involved in hundreds of meetings, workshops, plenary meetings, and hackathons, attracting thousands of volunteers backed by millions of foundation and government dollars, today the Digital Public Library of America goes live! It’s a great day for education and progress, as if the Ancient Library of Alexandria had met the modern World Wide Web and digitized America for the benefit of all“, said Doron Weber, Vice President of Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, an early funder of the project.
Although the DPLA has been launched as beta version , is already an astonishing user-friendly resource. Moreover, offers a public API, bulk download facilities and even their source code, so advanced users and external developers would find it easy to re-use data and build new applications. Regular users can search in the traditional way using the portal.
Some additional features of the DLPA:
- Virtual exhibitions
- Dynamic maps
- Timeline to visually browse by year or decade
- App library (access to applications and tools created by external developers using DPLA’s open data)