What is the DPLA?
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used. How? Check out our About page.
The DPLA offers a single point of access to millions of items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Users can browse and search the DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, format, and topic; save items to customized lists; and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by the DPLA’s content partners and staff.
For libraries, museums, and archives
The DPLA offers institutions the opportunity to reach more users, increase access to their content, and collaborate in new ways. For more information, see our Partnerships section.
The DPLA API offers access to metadata on millions of items and hundreds of collections (and growing!). For more information, check out our section for developers.
What kinds of resources can I find at the DPLA?
The DPLA contains metadata records—information describing an item—for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Each record links to the original object on the content provider’s website. The DPLA currently contains over 5.0 million records.
How much does it cost to use?
Access to the DPLA is free of charge for all users.
How is the DPLA funded?
The DPLA is funded by grants from a number of foundations and government agencies. For more information, see our Funding page
. For information on how to donate to the DPLA, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, please visit the Donations page
How do items end up in the DPLA? Can I contribute content to the DPLA?
The DPLA content staff work with our content and service hubs
to add content to the DPLA. For more information on becoming or working with one of these hubs, including how you can potentially contribute content that may make its way into the DPLA, see our Partnerships section
Do you have physical copies of the items in the DPLA?
The DPLA is an all-digital library that aggregates metadata about digital objects held by libraries, museums, and archives around the country. The DPLA does not hold physical copies of objects in its database.
Can I download items?
Each metadata record in the DPLA contains a link to the digital object on the content provider’s website. Digital copies of some objects are available for download, based on the content provider and the individual rights status of the object.
What is the copyright status of items in the DPLA?
The copyright status of items in the DPLA varies. Many items are in the public domain. For individual rights information about an item, please check the Rights field in the metadata or follow the link to the digital object on the content provider’s website for more information.
How many partners does the DPLA have?
Through the Digital Hubs Program
, the DPLA is working to establish a national network out of the over 40 state/regional digital libraries (Service Hubs) and myriad large digital libraries (Content Hubs) in the US. Service Hubs aggregate data on behalf of a given state or region; Content Hubs are large digital libraries, museums, archives, or repositories that maintain a one-to-one relationship with the DPLA. In total, the DPLA has more than 1,100 partners through the Hubs Program.
What metadata standard do you use?
The DPLA API is built following the DPLA Metadata Application Profile
(MAP), our internal metadata schema. The DPLA MAP is designed to build on the experience of the Europeana Data Model
(EDM) and to crosswalk with commonly used metadata standards, including Dublin Core
(qualified and unqualified), MODS
, and others. It references Dublin Core, ORE
, and a variety of controlled vocabularies and thesauri. A preliminary release of the RDF
schema is also available. The MAP will continue to evolve to implement more linked-data friendly methodologies to better share, expose, and connect DPLA’s content with users across the web.
How often is data harvested?
For the time being this is dependent on institutional need. In the future it will be automated.
Is the DPLA site accessible?
Last updated: November 13, 2013