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Welcome to the Digital Public Library of America

Welcome to the Digital Public Library of America
Posted by Dan Cohen on April 18, 2013 in DPLA Launch, DPLA Updates.

It’s not very often you get to build a new library. Together, that’s what we will begin to do today.  Starting with over two million items, each with its own special story and significance, the Digital Public Library of America will now begin to assemble the riches of our country’s libraries, archives, and museums, and connect them with the public.

Today also begins my tenure as the founding Executive Director of the DPLA, after twelve years at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. My friend Roy always wanted “to use digital media and computer technology to democratize history” and the access to it; it is simply a joy and an honor to be able to extend that worthy mission with a library of this scale and openness.

Since I accepted the position, many people have been asking me what the Digital Public Library of America will actually be. Simply put, there will be three key elements to the DPLA:

  • First, an easy-to-use portal where anyone can access America’s collections and search through them using novel and powerful techniques, including by place and time.
  • Second, a sophisticated technical platform that will make those millions of items available in ways so that others can build creative and transformative applications upon them, such as smartphone apps that magically reveal the history around you.
  • Third, along with like-minded institutions and individuals the DPLA will seek innovative means to make more cultural and scientific content openly available, and it will advocate for a strong public option for reading and research in the twenty-first century.

I see the Digital Public Library of America as a simple, but expansive and compelling, idea. Thankfully, I won’t be building it myself. Although the DPLA’s central office will be in Boston, where I will be moving with my family, DPLA staff and our many friends across the United States will fan out to forge partnerships, coordinate collective action, and solicit contributions of all types. I’ll be personally traveling across the U.S. to talk about the DPLA and to get the input of thousands of Americans.

It’s an incredibly rare opportunity to build something like the Digital Public Library of America—to shape a new, open portal to knowledge and wonder. I couldn’t be more excited, and I hope you can join me with your enthusiasm, your thoughts, and your contributions.

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for building an exciting resource. I am eager to dig into the digital stacks.

  2. Amanda Mecke says:

    Welcome DPLA. On this sad, brave day in Boston, there couldn’t be a better commitment to government by the people, for the people, and of the people than a Public Library for the 21st Century open to all.

    Thank you.

  3. Fernando cepeda says:

    It is a new dawn !!!
    It is the materialization of an impossible dream …just Fantastic…magical…
    Free and inmediate access to knowledge for everyone leaves behind, and forever, all the walls that created an unsurmountable privilege, the inmense privilege of knowledge.
    We all are in debt to all those who made this magnificent project possible.
    I am so grateful !!! Everyone should !!!

  4. Morgan M says:

    I think this is a great and fantastic step in the right direction for America. As a journalist I am so excited about this venture and resource. Cheers!

  5. [...] “It’s not very often you get to build a new library. Together, that’s what we will begin to do today. Starting with over two million items, each with its own special story and significance, the Digital Public Library of America will now begin to assemble the riches of our country’s libraries, archives, and museums, and connect them with the public.” (http://dp.la/info/2013/04/18/message-from-the-executive-director/) [...]

  6. Sunil Saith says:

    Dan,

    Love the idea and concept. I look forward to seeing how this develops.

    Sunil

  7. [...] outlined &#1110n a blog post introducing DPLA th&#1077 goals f&#959r th&#1077 digital library: t&#959 b&#1077 &#1072n [...]

  8. Mike20169 says:

    Congratulations and great job getting this launched! This could be a game-changer for us!

  9. john kuenzli says:

    Sign me up for alibrary card thanks

  10. Mary Barrios says:

    What a wonderful opportunity for anyone with access to the Internet to locate credulous, scholarly material in their pursuit of knowledge. Thank you to Dan Cohen and all who help contribute.

  11. Kristin Davis says:

    What a wonderful resource. Looking forward to exploring this digital world!

  12. Susan M. McDonald says:

    Although most of my seven decades have been spent as a desert rat, my birthplace is Pittsburgh. How proud must the soul of Andrew Carnegie be on this day. Who could have thunk it as an old friend used to say.

  13. Nancy D says:

    What a wonderful trove of discovery and learning! Thank you for bringing this to all of us!

  14. Bob Banfiel says:

    Read the review of DPLA in the “New York Review of Books” and could hardly wait for April 18th. This will truly prove to be one of the most amazing and significant events of the 21st century!

  15. m l gilbert says:

    can’t wait to sit and sort through this site. am a non-traditional college student and I know I will be perusing the digital stacks many times in the future. thanks!!!

  16. Sandra says:

    Congratulations on the launch. I’m looking forward to exploring the new site and encouraging others to open up a new world at The Library.

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