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Let’s Keep the Momentum Going

Let’s Keep the Momentum Going
Posted by Dan Cohen on April 17, 2014 in Blog, Staff Posts.

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It’s hard to believe that a year has already gone by since our launch last April. It’s been a whirlwind here in the Boston headquarters of DPLA, and across DPLA’s ever-expanding national network of libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage sites. The surging numbers in our collection—over 7 million items from 1300 contributing institutions, up from 2.4 million and 500 a year ago—attest to the tremendous momentum we’ve achieved.

And today we’re delighted to announce some more major partners, including the California Digital Library, Connecticut Digital Archive, Indiana Memory, Montana Memory Project, the Government Printing Office, and The Getty. Check out our full press release for all of the details of our first anniversary announcements and milestones.

It’s worth pausing at this moment to see how this all happened and what it means for the coming years. As I’ve been fond of saying, DPLA is as much a social project as a technical project, and we simply couldn’t have achieved what we’ve achieved without the incredible collaborative spirit that has coalesced around this wonderful idea of bringing together the riches of America’s collections and making them freely available to the world.

Scores of contributors at our service and content hubs, on our board and committees, and from libraries, archives, museums and cultural heritage sites across the country have been enormously generous with their time and ideas. The same energy can be seen in the very promising start to the DPLA community reps program, which is well on its way toward having members in all fifty states—people from all walks of life who are letting people know about DPLA and envisioning new programs in their communities. Last but certainly not least, when I give talks about DPLA and mention at the end that there are fewer than 10 people on staff at DPLA, many audience members are extremely surprised that so much is possible with so few. Thanks to our creative and hardworking staff, we are fighting well above our weight.DPLA-Hubs-2014-04

As good a first year as we have had, however, we have so much left to do. There are still 36 states that are not covered by our service hub network, meaning that smaller institutions in those states don’t have an on-ramp. There are other gaps as well. For instance, we have recently been talking on our open calls about making a concerted effort to accession more audiovisual materials. We also understand how critical it is for us to work on getting more recent ebooks into the collection, another area we have been studying intently to see how we can make an impact. We will seek to do more with public libraries through programs like our Gates training grant.

This ambitious agenda will require the support of even more people, institutions, and funders in the years ahead, so we ask  you to join us in our mission at this exciting time. You may wish to apply to become a community rep, participate on one of our committees, or simply hop on our of our open calls to provide input. If you are part of an institution with materials that have been digitized or with connections to other organizations nearby, see if your institution can become a content or service hub.

Finally, although we are a very streamlined and efficient operation, we still require financial support to complete our work. Individuals and organizations can become regular (or one-time) donors on our donations page. Public funders and private foundations such as the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have played a crucial role; we hope that others will join our expanding circle of funders to keep the momentum going.

My sincerest thanks to everyone for an incredible first year—we look forward to another great year and many more to come!

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Dan Cohen

DPLA Executive Director


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