The Digital Public Library of America will soon go live and its fearless leaders promise to curate “the best open access and digitized materials” at dp.la. On the heels of the Google Book debacle, libraries and other interest-holders joined forces to digitize and make available public domain & licensed works and other resources for the DPLA.
THE DPLA describes its launch as follows:
In its first iteration, the DPLA will combine a group of rich, interesting digital collections, from state and regional digital archives to the special collections of major university libraries and federal holdings. The DPLA will demonstrate how powerful and exciting it can be to bring together our nation’s digitized materials, metadata (including catalog records, for instance), code, and digital tools and services into an open, shared resource.
The platform will serve as the central nexus for a group of “hubs.” These hubs are nationwide organizations that provide essential services and content for the DPLA. Presenting a geographically and historically diverse look at our nation’s archives, the seven initial service hubs span the United States: the Mountain West Digital Library (Utah, Nevada, and Arizona), Digital Commonwealth (Massachusetts), Digital Library of Georgia, Kentucky Digital Library, Minnesota Digital Library, South Carolina Digital Library, and Oregon Digital Library. Each of these organizations assists an even greater number of local and regional libraries, museums, and archives with digitization efforts, creating a broad network of contributors and a vast range of content that users can access.
(Read the rest at their site, dp.la)”
Is DPLA the New Google Books?
The short answer is no. But the idea of mass digitization of books was made famous (or infamous, I should say) by “the Google”. Google did plan to digital every literary work it could get its privatized hands on — reported to include over 30 million volumes of works — but it ran into a host of legal barriers to its mission.
The Google Books kerfluffle is chronicled in many places, but CNN Money gives a good overview.
The Touted Benefits of Such a Project
The NewYorkReviewofBooks.com describes the historical perspective and utilitarian benefits of such a project< “Thanks to the Internet and a pervasive if imperfect system of education, we now can realize the dream of Jefferson and Franklin. We have the technological and economic resources to make all the collections of all our libraries accessible to all our fellow citizens—and to everyone everywhere with access to the World Wide Web. That is the mission of the DPLA.” >> Read more