University of Southern California Libraries Join Digital Public Library of America as a Content Hub

By DPLA, August 22, 2013.
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The University of Southern California Libraries have become the first library in California to partner with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) as a content hub. USC has contributed more than 250,000 items from the USC Digital Library to the DPLA, including photographs, text documents, moving images, and digital audio, all of which are now accessible to the DPLA’s global audience of scholars, students, and public researchers.

Launched in April, the DPLA’s collection comprises more than 2.8 million items, creating a unified, massive, scholarly and cultural resource for the study of the United States’ digitized heritage. The newly added USC Libraries’ collections will more than quadruple the amount of material available through the DPLA relating to the history of Los Angeles and Southern California.

“Collaborating with the Digital Public Library of America complements and extends the reach of our work to support research in the history and future of Los Angeles as a Pacific Rim metropolis,” said Catherine Quinlan, dean of the USC Libraries.

“The DPLA has built an excellent platform for connecting researchers to vital library collections on a global scale,” Quinlan added. “I look forward to working with the DPLA to make possible new and surprising discoveries among USC Libraries’ one-of-a-kind collections.”

The USC Libraries’ collections will bring a new, diverse set of perspectives on California to the DPLA’s holdings. For example, more than 100,000 Works Progress Administration census cards reveal economic and sociological data on pre-WWII Los Angeles and its residents, as well as deep details on the census process and census workers—including statistics on their education levels, health, and income.

The Robin Dunitz and NEH-funded Dick Whittington digital collections offer two views of Los Angeles’ contributions to American art—the former from the point of view of muralists and the photographer who documented their public art for 75 years, the latter through the lens of a commercial photography studio that captured the city’s growth on film during its 20th-century boom years.

“USC Libraries have such rich and deep collections, and they are at the forefront of digitizing and preserving an incredible range of materials,” said Dan Cohen, DPLA executive director. “It is wonderful to welcome USC Libraries as a content hub and to add their unique subject strengths to ours.”

Beyond improved and expanded accessibility of collections, the DPLA maintains an application programming interface (API) and other tools that allow software developers to build research and presentation applications using DPLA collections.

The USC Libraries’ digital collections are now live on the DPLA site at

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