About

Our Values

At DPLA, we share a passion for expanding the reach of openly available materials. We believe that access to trustworthy information is essential to a democratic society. Diversity strengthens us all, and we are committed to fostering inclusive communities and collections, and furthering social justice. Collaboration advances the impact of our network, leading our users to deeper engagement with and understanding of our shared culture. We understand that conscientious stewardship of finite resources is critical for long-term sustainability of DPLA, our communities, and the world.

The following principles and practices connect these values to concrete actions taken by DPLA staff.

A Commitment to our Mission.

Our principles:

  • We share a passion for DPLA’s commitment to expanding the realm of openly available materials and to making them more easily discovered and more widely used.
  • We understand that our scale brings both opportunity and responsibility to advance the work and impact of the cultural heritage community as a whole.

In practice, this means that:

  • We foster creativity, curiosity, and empowerment by connecting people with information; enabling and encouraging reuse; and developing curated resources that engage and educate the public.
  • We advocate for, actively engage in, and lead efforts across the libraries, archives, and museums community to support the sustainable growth and distribution of openly-available cultural resources around the world.
  • We engage in research within our communities to identify, support, and meet common needs.
  • We provide leadership and support for the development of open-source tools that drive the growth and actionable capacity of openly available resources.

A Commitment to Constructive Collaboration.

Our principles:

  • Effective collaboration, internally and externally, is the foundation of DPLA.
  • Recognizing that DPLA exists because of successful collaborations across the country, we respect and foster our growing network of partnerships.

In practice, this means that:

  • We understand that successful collaborations require humility, mutual respect, empathy, honesty, transparency, and strong communication.  
  • We model the characteristics of successful collaboration within our organization and in our external partnerships.
  • We enable and encourage exceptional work in each other and in our partners.
  • As members in a distributed organization, we are expected to be personally responsible. We hold ourselves and each other accountable for meeting the commitments of the organization. These expectations foster a high-quality work environment that enables our staff to be productive, creative, meaningful contributors to the DPLA and our fields of practice.

A Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.

Our principles:

  • We value diversity and inclusion, and ensure a place for all throughout our organization, partners, audiences, and collections.
  • We believe in playing a strong role in furthering social justice, decreasing inequality of access, growing and promoting collections representing diverse communities, showcasing a range of experiences, and advocating for positive change.

In practice, this means that:

  • We will work to become an organization whose staff, board, network, and communities reflect the diversity of our nation.
  • We partner with underrepresented and under-resourced groups to increase the visibility of their content and help build capacity.
  • We strive to provide equitable access to all communities.
  • We engage with contemporary social justice issues, drawing on our historical resources to provide contextualization and deepen understanding in ourselves and our audiences.

A Commitment to the Public and our Community.

Our principles:

  • As part of an ecosystem of cultural heritage institutions, diverse audiences, and technology communities, we take our roles and responsibilities seriously, and will be service-oriented in all directions.

In practice, this means that:

  • We seek a full and complete understanding of the needs of our network members and our users.
  • We continuously and actively listen to and gather input from our network and our users, and this engagement drives our priorities.
  • We strive to deliver reliable and sustainable products and services efficiently and effectively.
  • We work iteratively, improving through assessment, analysis of empirical data, and reflection.  

A Commitment to Stewardship of Resources.

Our principles:

  • We aim to be trustworthy stewards of our funds and materials.   

In practice, this means that:

  • We prioritize staff time and funding to focus on our mission.
  • We protect confidential and private information and the privacy of our users.
  • We take into account environmental and social impact in our decisions on how and where to expend resources.
  • We hold a lasting commitment to financial and organizational sustainability.