Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library; Member, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Steering Committee
Despite a lot of loose talk about the death of the book and the obsolescence of libraries, books and libraries are more important than ever in the current digital environment; and their importance will increase as we design the digital future—if only we can get it right. One way leads through excessive commercialization to a future in which the public will cease to have access to most of the material that belongs in the public domain. Another way would democratize access to knowledge by creating a Digital Public Library of America. The DPLA faces formidable problems, but it is being successfully organized; and when it opens online next April, it will begin to make America’s cultural heritage available, free of charge, to all Americans and in fact to everyone in the world.