Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The National Digital Public Library is Set to Launch!

In honor of National Library Week (April 14 – 20, 2013), I wanted to let you know about the launching of the Digital Public Library on April 18th.

The purpose of this project is to aggregate the digital archives from around the U.S. into one portal. As the website for the Digital Public Library of America states:
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will make the cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available, free of charge, to all. The DPLA’s primary focus is on making available materials from the United States. By adhering to the fundamental principle of free and universal access to knowledge, it will promote education in the broadest sense of the term. That is, it will function as an online library for students of all ages, from grades K-12 to postdoctoral researchers and anyone seeking self-instruction; it will be a deep resource for community colleges, vocational schools, colleges, universities, and adult education programs; it will supplement the services of public libraries in every corner of the country; and it will satisfy other needs as well—the need for data related to employment, for practical information of all kinds, and for enrichment in the use of leisure.
In a New York Review of Books essay , Harvard University Librarian Robert Darnton expressed the DPLA vision:
The Digital Public Library of America, to be launched on April 18, is a project to make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans—and eventually to everyone in the world—online and free of charge...

...The user-friendly interface will therefore enable any reader—say, a high school student in the Bronx—to consult works that used to be stored on inaccessible shelves or locked up in treasure rooms—say, pamphlets in the Huntington Library of Los Angeles about nullification and secession in the antebellum South. Readers will simply consult the DPLA through its URL, http://dp.la/. They will then be able to search records by entering a title or the name of an author, and they will be connected through the DPLA’s site to the book or other digital object at its home institution.
I hope you will access the site and also share it with your students. Maybe I'm just a geek at heart, but I'm excited about the possibilities for learning and sharing!

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