“There is a tremendous reservoir of untapped knowledge in America. Knowledge is our country’s most important renewable natural resource, a common pool that should be available to all.
“We already have many beautiful museums, bottomless libraries, unique research institutions. What if the DPLA, instead of simply creating yet another institution, created that common reservoir that all could tap into? What if the Hathi Trust put everything they have into a common pool, a pool that they could in turn draw on to create an even more impressive Hathi Trust?
“What if the Internet Archive and the Library of Congress and public libraries and individuals and local historical groups could all draw from those deep wells, all contribute to that common pool?
“It is tempting for any one institution to say ‘I have the answer.’ But, what if we shifted the debate, so that it becomes ‘We all have the answer, here’s my contribution, see what you can do with it. Surprise me!’”
From Carl Malamud’s speech at the October 2011 Plenary Meeting, Bridges, Reservoirs and Other Metaphors for a Digital Public Library of America