Our 2021 year in review

By DPLA, December 16, 2021.

As 2021 draws to a close, all of us at DPLA wish to extend our gratitude for all of your efforts to advance our work this year. As we look back on the progress we’ve made in 2021, we know none of it would be possible without the talent and dedication of our community.

We hope to gather with you on Monday, January 10, at 2 pm ET for our first open board and community meeting of 2022, at which we’ll discuss the state of digital access. Please register here.

And, before you head off to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, we invite you to recall some of our favorite moments, projects, and accomplishments from this roller coaster of a year.


Metadata Working Group introduces Harmful Language Statement

Following on the excellent work done in 2020 by the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Social Justice (IDEAS) task force to develop the DPLA IDEAS Statement, the Metadata Working Group (MWG) began drafting a Statement on Potentially Harmful Content in August 2020 based on their initial work on the Black Women’s Suffrage statement of the same name. The MWG is charged with “evaluating the need for and developing metadata quality guidelines, documentation, and training to improve the quality of metadata at DPLA and beyond,” so work on this document was a natural next step. Find out more.


Rosalyn Terborg-Penn
Searching for Black Women in the Archives

The Searching for Black Women in the Archives blog series by DPLA senior software engineer and librarian Audrey Altman helped kick off our latest efforts to advance algorithmic justice. Read the series.

Brown Bag lunch series begins

DPLA kicked off a new event series with Hub Network Brown Bag lunch virtual get-togethers in February. These are 45-minute chats organized around topics of interest or importance to our network and meant to be a chance to reconnect with colleagues and share information in a friendly, casual setting. Have an idea for a 2022 Brown Bag? Email us: info@dp.la.


Wikimedia Project hits 10 million views

In March, we celebrated our Wikimedia Project, and the milestone of 1 million views of DPLA images on Wikimedia. As of this writing, DPLA images now have received more than 66 million views since the project began.

Click to see December’s most viewed images!


DPLA launches Book Talk series with Mistrust

In April, we kicked off our new Book Talk series with a conversation with Ethan Zuckerman and Katherine Maher about Zuckerman’s latest work, Mistrust. To date, we’ve held six book talks on a wide variety of topics, from racism in American higher education to theoretical physics. Thanks to College Unbound and Unfinished for partnering with us on our latest talks. Click to watch some Book Talk recordings!


Annual Members Meeting focuses on IDEAS work in action

In May, we gathered virtually with representatives from our member hubs to discuss our collective efforts to turn the corner from talking about equity and inclusion to actually determining what that means to every aspect of our work, from search and discovery to metadata to partnerships. Hear from our members.
DPLA signs agreement with Amazon Publishing

We announced in May that we signed an agreement with Amazon Publishing to make all of the approximately 10,000 Amazon Publishing ebooks and audiobooks available to libraries and their patrons through the Palace Marketplace (formerly DPLA Exchange), the only not-for-profit, library-centered digital content marketplace. Get the details.


Shaneé Yvette Murrain is named one of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers 2021

In June, we celebrated our Director of Community Engagement Shaneé Yvette Murrain as she was named one of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers for 2021. Shaneé was recognized as one of five “Digital Developers” in part for her work leading the creation of the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection. Click to read the profile.

The Palace Project launches

DPLA and our partners at LYRASIS launched The Palace Project in June to develop and scale a robust suite of content, services, and tools for the delivery of ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital media to benefit public libraries and patrons. The Palace Project is made possible by a generous $5 million investment by Knight Foundation.

You can now download the Palace app for iOS or Android, and read books for free by choosing “Palace Bookshelf” as your library.

Click here to explore The Palace Project.


DPLA and Knight Foundation convene library leaders

DPLA partnered with Knight Foundation in July to host a gathering of more than 100 of our library colleagues from across the country to discuss how libraries can contribute to solving one of the most pressing issues facing our field—securing equitable internet access for everyone. Find out more.

DPLA joins U.S. Surgeon General in national effort to combat misinformation

In July, we announced that DPLA was joining U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy in a national effort to combat health misinformation. Download the Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation.



DPLA expands Board with four new directors

This fall, we welcomed four library and civic leaders to our board of directors: Joshua Frazier-Sparks, Director of Culture, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Walmart; Joseph Lucia, Dean of Libraries at Temple University; Marcia Walker-McWilliams, Executive Director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium; and Kelvin Watson, Executive Director of Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. Meet the directors.

All year long: new collections + connections!

Northwest Digital Heritage joins DPLA

Northwest Digital Heritage is a collaboration between the Washington State Library, State Library of Oregon, and Oregon Heritage Commission that serves libraries and cultural heritage institutions across the Pacific Northwest region. Find out more.

Orbis Cascade contributes new collections to DPLA

In June, the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a consortium of 37 academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest, made more than 50,000 new cultural heritage artifacts available at dp.la. The Alliance’s first hub submissions included cultural resources contributed by member institutions in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Find out more.

NJ/DE Digital Collective joins DPLA

The NJ/DE Digital Collective is a collaboration launched by the New Jersey State Library (NJSL) and Delaware Division of Libraries (DDL) that serves libraries and cultural heritage institutions throughout New Jersey and Delaware. More than 20 organizations are currently contributing to DPLA through the NJ/DE Digital Collective including NJSL, DDL, Rutgers University, the University of Delaware, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Princeton University. Find out more.

Genealogy webinar showcases DPLA artifacts

October’s genealogy webinar was a huge hit with our community! Presented by the Outreach and Accessibility working group and Allison Ryall, Genealogy Specialist for the Orange County Library System, the webinar covered DPLA basics, such as search techniques and a metadata overview, as well as genealogy tips and tricks. Allison also provided several case studies using DPLA resources and highlighting how to navigate DPLA’s collection and use available primary source sets in family history research. Watch the webinar.

A very archives holiday!

A big thank you to Elliot Williams, the DPLA Metadata Aggregation Outreach Coordinator at Texas Digital Library for this bit of holiday cheer: an online “advent calendar” featuring DPLA artifacts! Explore the calendar.

DPLA Executive Director John Bracken on public radio’s 1A to discuss the future of libraries

DPLA’s executive director John Bracken joined Melanie Huggins of Richland Library and Brewster Kahle of Internet Archive for a discussion on the future of the public library on 1A. Click to listen.

We offer special thanks to our funders, who make all of our work possible:

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

MacArthur Foundation

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Pivotal Ventures

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Wikimedia Foundation

Please note the DPLA offices will be closed the week of December 27. We wish you happy holidays and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year!