Press: “Digital Public Library of America”

Posted by DPLA in January 19, 2012.

“On January 17th I attended a lecture given by Professor Robert Darnton, hosted by SCONUL and JISC at the Royal Society, on ‘The Digital Public Library of America: Current Plans and Future Prospects’. I feel I ought to say at the outset that I’m not an afternoon person, and I did find it difficult to get into the right mode as the session began, particularly as there were three separate introductions before Darnton stepped up to the microphone. I probably ought to have been expecting something like this, given that the event was jointly hosted, and fortunately a video of the event will appear on the JISC website in due course so I can catch up on what I might have missed! I’d also really recommend Simon Barron’s fantastic post about it as Simon’s writing is so much better than mine, and I’m currently admiring and envying this in equal measures!

“In explaining some of the thinking behind the DPLA project Darnton quoted Thomas Jefferson:

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.

From Emma Davidson’s post on Libraries, The Universe and Everything, Digital Public Library of America