DPLA Celebrates Continued Growth and Major New Initiatives at DPLAfest 2016

By DPLA, April 14, 2016.
Published under:

WASHINGTON, DC — At the start of DPLAfest 2016 in Washington, DC, the Digital Public Library of America announced significant growth and important new directions. This year’s DPLAfest, the third of its kind, is bringing together more than 450 people from DPLA’s expanding community to discuss a range of topics related to DPLA, its network of partners, digital libraries, education, and much more.  DPLAfest 2016 is co-hosted by the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Smithsonian Institution. Announcements at DPLAfest 2016 included:

DPLAfest 2016 is the biggest fest to date

DPLAfest 2016 represents the biggest fest to date with over 450 registrants and many more hoping to attend by way of a wait list. This year’s fest also features the largest and broadest array of programming to date with 65 sessions featuring 170 speakers over the course of two days. Since its inaugural year in Boston in 2013, DPLAfest has become a must-attend event bringing together hundreds from cultural institutions, education, law, technology, and more.

Hub network continues to expand

Over the past year DPLA has reached a milestone of 1,900 contributing institutions, with nearly half of the states now covered by Service Hubs, which are bringing online scores of smaller collections in those states to match the large collections from Content Hubs. The DPLA Hub network is a wide-ranging collaboration bringing together small rural public libraries and historical societies, large universities and community colleges, federal, state, and local government agencies, corporations, independent collections, and many more organizations of all stripes. In April 2013, when DPLA launched, there were just 500 contributing institutions.

DPLA is striving to “complete the map” of Service Hubs as part of its current strategic plan. Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are targeted toward coverage of additional states in a succession of phases that has already begun.

There are currently 13 million items available via DPLA. At launch three years ago, there were 2.3 million items.

New primary source sets now available

Earlier this week DPLA was pleased to announce its newest release of Primary Source Sets for education, bringing its collection to 100 sets total. You can now explore the collection by core subject areas, such as US history, literature, arts, and science and technology, as well as themes like migration and labor history and groups including African Americans and women. DPLA has also developed new features that allow you to more easily discover related resources within the project.

This project was developed in collaboration with DPLA’s Education Advisory Committee for use by students and teachers in grades 6-12 and higher education. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to additional resources, and a teaching guide. This project is the culmination of education research and curation at DPLA over the past two years, generously funded by the Whiting Foundation.

All of the primary source sets are also available on PBS Learning Media and the Learning Registry. DPLA’s collaboration with PBS Learning Media was announced at last year’s DPLAfest in Indianapolis.

RightsStatements.org launches

In May 2015, the International Rights Statements Working Group released two white papers with its recommendations for establishing standardized rights statements for describing copyright and reuse status of digital cultural heritage materials, and the enabling technical infrastructure for those statements. After working for nearly a year to implement the recommendations of the white papers, the Digital Public Library of America and Europeana were proud to announce the launch of RightsStatements.org at DPLAfest 2016.

RightsStatements.org provides 11 standardized rights statements that can be used by cultural heritage institutions to communicate the copyright and re-use status of digital objects to the public. These statements provide a minimum, baseline standard for organizations contributing to the DPLA, Europeana, and any other digital aggregator that adopts the RightsStatements.org standard.

RightsStatements.org establishes the vocabulary that every organization can use to talk to their audiences about copyright and related rights in a meaningful way. It provides the technical and governance infrastructure to support their development and adoption, and ensure their on­going relevance.

RightsStatements.org is a cooperative effort between Creative Commons, Kennisland, and key stakeholders of the DPLA and Europeana networks. To learn more about RightsStatements.org, read the press release from earlier today or visit RightsStatements.org.

Open eBooks experiencing tremendous reception

Open eBooks, a new initiative and e-reader app that makes thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free, has received an enormous amount of use since launching on February 24, with more than 1.4 million codes distributed.

The initiative is designed to address the challenge of providing digital reading materials to children living in low-income households, and offers unprecedented access to quality digital content, including a catalog of eBooks valued at more than $250 million. First Lady Michelle Obama released a video raising awareness of the new opportunity for children.  Adults who work with children in need through libraries, schools, shelters and clinics, out-of-school programs, military family services, early childhood programs and other capacities can qualify for Open eBooks credentials by first signing up with First Book and then requesting Open eBooks access for the children they serve. Additional information about the mechanics of getting started with Open eBooks is available on the initiative’s website.

A coalition of literacy, library, publishing and technology partners joined together to make the Open eBooks program possible. The initiative’s partners — Digital Public Library of America, First Book, and The New York Public Library, with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor — created the app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use. They received financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and content contributions from major publishers. President Obama announced a nongovernmental eBooks effort in support of the ConnectED Initiative at the April 30, 2015, Kids Town Hall held by the White House at the Anacostia Branch of the District of Columbia Public Library.

The books in the Open eBooks collection were selected by the DPLA Curation Corps, which was established to ensure a diverse, compelling, and appropriately targeted set of thousands of titles—something from which every child could read, enjoy, and learn. The Curation Corps was selected through a competitive process from a pool of more than 140 applicants from across the country, and they bring their extensive experience helping children select titles in school and public libraries.

DPLA launches new Instagram account

DPLA also launched a new Instagram account during the DPLAfest opening session. You can follow DPLA at @digpublib.

Library of Congress partners with DPLA

The Digital Public Library of America and the Library of Congress announced today that they look forward to deepening their relationship in 2016, and are working toward the inclusion of Library of Congress materials in DPLA’s discovery service. The Library of Congress, the nation’s first federal cultural institution, has digitized hundreds of collections of national and global significance, including the papers of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the archives of the Wright Brothers, sheet music and art posters, and treasures related to architecture, dance, and geography.

DPLA wishes to thank the gracious co-hosts of DPLAfest 2016:

  • Library of Congress
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • Smithsonian Institution

DPLA would also like to thank its DPLAfest 2016 sponsors:

  • Digital Transitions Division of Cultural Heritage
  • Texthelp
  • CLIR Digital Library Federation (DLF)