The Digital Library of America (DPLA) is a one-year old project that grew out of a meeting of 40 library leaders held in October, 2011. It’s goal is to create a large-scale digital public library to make the cultural and scientific record available to everyone. The DPLA received two significant donations last week with The Sloan Foundation and Arcadia Fund each contributing $2.5 million to the project.
Last month Maura Marx, Director of the DPLA Secretariat, was at the Europeana Tech Conference, held at the Austrian National Library, where she gave a short update on the DPLA. A video of her presentation was posted on the DPLA website on Wednesday. It’s just over 12 minutes long and well worth watching.
She describes the DPLA as an American project that seeks to provide coherent access to content from a variety of institutions — from museums, from libraries, from archives, and to do it in a way that will encourage participation from users and that will encourage innovation and new development. She goes on to say that it will do so by providing content on the most open platform possible, subscribing to the most open principles possible. The goals are ambitious. They are trying to build a useful, functioning, open digital library. By April 2013, they expect to have a working prototype.
The Secretariat is at the Berkman Center at Harvard, which coordinates the project’s activities.
The most recent developments were six awards to groups submitting Beta-Sprint proposals – code and concepts for how the DPLA might operate. The awards included:
- Digital collaboration through one unified search tool by the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution.
- A search tool for the DCC’s collection of cultural and scientific heritage resources, by the Digital Library Federation and the University of Illinois.
- A multimedia-library-without-walls through an open source, HTML5 platform by metaLAB (at) Harvard, the Harvard Library Lab, and Media And Place (MAP) Productions.
- A coordinated effort to digitize and enhance government documents using crowdsourcing and linked data by the University of Minnesota, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and HathiTrust.
- A web-based platform to enable the aggregation of diverse cultural heritage content and metadata by MINT at the National Technical University of Athens.
- ShelfLife, intended to provide users with a rich environment for exploring the combined content of the DPLA, discovering new works, and engaging more deeply with them via social interactions by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and multiple partners.
More detailed descriptions of these projects are here: DPLA Beta Sprint Results
The momentum surrounding the DPLA is increasing and we expect to see many more developments in the near future as they move forward on these and other projects.