Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its First Birthday with the Arrival of Six New Partners, Over 7 Million Items, and a Growing Community

By DPLA, April 17, 2014.
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Our 1st Birthday  ///  Letter from the Executive Director  /  Press Release  /  Send us Birthday Love!  /  Press and Media Mentions

BOSTON — This week marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Digital Public Library of America (, a groundbreaking all-digital library that brings together millions of items from America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. In celebration, DPLA is proud to announce the addition of six major new partners and other significant milestones that attest to the tremendous momentum the project has as it enters its second year.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) this week expanded access to the full breadth of its digital collections through its partnership with DPLA, a major increase over its initial contribution of 14,000 records at DPLA’s launch. Over 1 million digitized items from throughout the Library’s research holdings are available, significantly increasing DPLA’s offerings by nearly 20%.

The arrival of these new partners, as well as the addition of new items from NYPL, announced for the first time today, further underscore a year of remarkable forward progress for the young non-profit organization.

FROM OUR COLLECTION Aquarium, Battery Park, New York City [Postcard], ca. 1931. From the New York Aquarium Postcards collection of the Wildlife Conservation Society Archives. Via Empire State Digital Network.

Aquarium, Battery Park, New York City [Postcard], ca. 1931. From the New York Aquarium Postcards collection of the Wildlife Conservation Society Archives. Via Empire State Digital Network.

Since launching on April 18, 2013, DPLA has:

  • tripled the size of its collections, jumping from 2.4 million items to over 7 million;
  • pulled in materials from over 1,300 organizations, up from 500 at launch;
  • attracted over 1 million unique visitors to its website and over 9 million hits to its API (application programming interface);
  • added new and innovative third-party apps to its growing App Library;
  • launched an innovative book-browsing interface for its 1.6 million books, serials, and journals;
  • received more than $2 million in grant funding from major American foundations and donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for our work with public libraries, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to give us long-term stability, and an anonymous supporter who gave nearly a half-million dollars in appreciation of DPLA’s democratization of access, and many smaller donors who similarly supported our public-spirited mission;
  • grown from a staff of four to eight, with two additional positions soon to be filled; and
  • engaged the energy and support of its distributed, broad-based community through multiple outreach activities, including DPLAfest 2013, a two-day public event in Boston in October 2013 attended by hundreds, its popular volunteer Community Reps program which has fanned out to nearly all 50 states, and dozens of monthly open calls with its Board of Directors and Committees.

As DPLA moves into its second year of operation, we are delighted to announce that six major new partners — California Digital Library, Connecticut Digital Archive, U.S. Government Printing Office, Indiana Memory, Montana Memory Project, and The J. Paul Getty Trust — will participate as Content Hubs or statewide Service Hubs, or will be joining an existing Service Hub. All will help to greatly expand DPLA’s offerings from their respective regions, contributing numerous new items to DPLA and bolstering the library’s distributed national infrastructure.

These new partners strengthen the geographic, cultural, and intellectual diversity of DPLA’s collections:

California Digital Library LogoCalifornia Digital Library

The California Digital Library, in collaboration with the ten-campus University of California (UC) Libraries system, will be launching as a DPLA Content Hub. In this role, CDL will be sharing metadata records from Calisphere, a website with approximately 250,000 digital primary source objects contributed by libraries, archives, and museums across the state. Additionally, CDL will be exploring new avenues for aggregating metadata records hosted outside of the Calisphere platform, and sharing those records with DPLA.

ctda logoConnecticut Digital Archive

The Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) is a service of the University of Connecticut Libraries, in partnership with the Connecticut State Library. The CTDA provides services to preserve and make available digital assets related to Connecticut and created by Connecticut-based libraries, archives, galleries, museums and non-profit cultural institutions. It is a means by which we can collectively and collaboratively insure the continued existence of and access to these resources. The CTDA will provide public access to digital resources related to Connecticut, and contributed by Connecticut-based institutions through a new Connecticut History Online portal launching in Fall 2014.

getty logoThe J. Paul Getty Trust

The J. Paul Getty Trust is a cultural and philanthropic institution dedicated to critical thinking in the presentation, conservation, and interpretation of the world’s artistic legacy. Through the collective and individual work of its constituent programs — Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, J. Paul Getty Museum, and Getty Research Institute — it serves both the general interested public and a wide range of professional communities. Through its partnership with DPLA, The Getty Research Institute will aggregate metadata to its rare and unique collections in art history and visual culture including books from the 15th through 21st centuries, rare and documentary photograph collections, manuscripts, prints, sketchbooks, architectural drawings, artist papers, and archives that provide perspectives on artistic production. It will also contribute metadata from the Getty Research Portal, which aggregates metadata for thousands of digitized art history texts from a growing number of art libraries from across the United States.

gpologoThe U.S. Government Printing Office

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is the Federal Government’s official, digital, secure resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government. The GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government. Through this partnership between GPO and DPLA, the public will be able to access the growing collection of Government documents provided by GPO.  Examples include: the Federal Budget, laws such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Federal regulations and Congressional hearings, reports and documents.  GPO has partnerships with approximately 1,200 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program.

indiana memory logoIndiana Memory

Indiana Memory is a collaborative effort of Indiana libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions that provides free access to digital collections reflecting Indiana’s heritage from the earliest fossil records to present day.  Collections encompass a wide variety of 360,000 unique digital materials such as correspondence from the early Northwest Territorial government officials, Civil War soldiers’ portraits, Indy 500 photographs and memorabilia from the Mercury space program as well as reflections of everyday life through historic newspapers, oral histories, letters home from soldiers, and family photographs.

montana memory logoMontana Memory Project (via Mountain West Digital Library)

The Montana Memory Project provides access to digital collections and items relating to Montana’s cultural heritage and government. These collections and items document the Montana experience. Many of these items are digitized copies of historic material, and some items are contemporary. All serve as a resource for education, business, pleasure, and lifelong learning. The Montana Memory Project is a statewide project of the Montana State Library and the Montana Historical Society Research Center, and it is participating in DPLA via the Mountain West Digital Library, which itself is a Service Hub.

Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula, 1635. Blaeu, Willem Janszoon (1571-1638), cartographer, Ende, Josua van den (ca. 1584-ca. 1634), engraver.

Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula, 1635. Blaeu, Willem Janszoon (1571-1638), cartographer, Ende, Josua van den (ca. 1584-ca. 1634), engraver.

In another significant announcement released today, DPLA is excited to share that it has lowered the thresh­old for prospective Content Hubs to 200,000 items, down from the 250,000 item boundary set in place at the start of the Hubs program in September 2012. “By lowering the Content Hub threshold to 200,000 items, we hope to establish more direct partnerships with large content holders among America’s libraries, archives and museums,” said DPLA Director of Content Emily Gore.

“Thanks to the incredible engagement of our community and the extraordinary support of our funders, all of whom believe strongly in what we’re doing, we have achieved a remarkable amount in just one year,” said DPLA Executive Director Dan Cohen. “I harbored a secret hope we would double the collection in the first year, so to arrive at this springtime with triple the number of items of last year, and more importantly a rapidly growing circle of hubs who have joined us to bring together America’s cultural and scientific riches, I couldn’t be more elated. From just a bold idea a few years ago we can now begin to see the possibility, with additional support, of a complete national network of hubs, and the expansive uses for our unified collection, from the classroom to local and family history to the latest smartphone apps. And we are eager to pursue an even broader range of items, such as the audiovisual materials and recent books the public often enjoys.”

John Palfrey, President of DPLA’s Board of Directors, echoed Cohen’s remarks. “The first year of the DPLA’s operation has exceeded all expectations,” he said.  “These are still very early days and much remains to be done.  The tiny staff and growing volunteer network that makes the DPLA possible deserves all of our thanks.  They are charting a very bright future for DPLA and for digital library services through their hard work.”

“The ancient Library of Alexandria has met the modern World Wide Web and given rise to the Digital Public Library of America, an unprecedented experiment in collaborative collection, curation and universal access to all forms of knowledge and culture,” said Doron Weber, Vice President Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a lead funder. “DPLA is the first truly open, integrated, non-commercial network of online resources that draws from all corners of the nation’s living heritage—from the grass roots to the Ivory Towers—for the education and empowerment of all. It’s a dream many of us labored long and hard to reach, and it’s exhilarating to watch it begin to take interactive shape after only one year.”

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About DPLA

The Digital Public Library of America ( 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. Since launching in April 2013, it has aggregated over 7 million items from over 1,300 institutions. The DPLA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.

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