Digital Public Library of America
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Digital Public Library of America



This is a presentation about the Digital Public Library of America, originally created in May 2014. It shows the greater access to various materials than can be had if one participates.

This is a presentation about the Digital Public Library of America, originally created in May 2014. It shows the greater access to various materials than can be had if one participates.



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  • The mission of the DPLA is to bring together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and to make them freely available to the world. <br /> The DPLA achieves this mission through its three main elements: <br /> A portal for discovery that delivers students, teachers, scholars, and the public to incredible resources, where they may be in America. <br /> A platform that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. <br /> An advocate for a strong public option in the 21st century. <br />
  • The DPLA portal ( serves as the point of access to over 5.4 million items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. <br /> Users can browse and search the DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, visual bookshelf, format, and topic; save items to customized lists; and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by the DPLA’s content partners and staff. <br />
  • The objects in the DPLA cover hundreds of years of our cultural heritage. You can browse by century, decade, and year using the DPLA’s innovative timeline. <br />
  • Curious to see what resources the DPLA has from your home state? From your college town? From the city where your parents were born? Hundreds of thousands of the objects in our database can be viewed on our map interface. <br />
  • The bookshelf is an easy way to search DPLA’s books, serials, and journals. The darker the shade of blue, the more relevant the results. Click on a spine for details and related images. Book thickness indicates the page count, and the horizontal length reflects the book’s actual height. <br />
  • The DPLA and its partners have curated a series of virtual exhibitions highlighting specific themes, such as activism in the United States, Prohibition, and a joint exhibition with Europeana, the pan-Europeana digital library, that tells the story of European emigration to the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. These exhibitions include full photographs and detailed information about special topics. <br />
  • You can sign up with the site as well. Registering for a DPLA account will allow you to create lists and save items and searches for your reference. <br />
  • The DPLA Digital Hubs Pilot Program is a program to design a national network out of the over 40state/regional digital libraries and myriad large digital libraries in the US. The DPLA partners with these state/regional aggregators and large digital libraries to bring together content from across the US. <br /> Note that the DPLA aggregates metadata records—the information that describes an item, such as its creator, date, place, and so forth—not the content itself. Each record in the DPLA links to the original object on the content provider’s website. <br /> What’s the difference between service and content hubs? (Next slide…) <br />
  • The Content hubs are large digital libraries, museums, archives, or repositories that maintain a one-to-one relationship with the DPLA.  Content hubs, as a general rule, provide more than 250,000 unique metadata records that resolve to digital objects (online texts, photographs, manuscript material, art work, etc.) to the DPLA, and commit to maintaining and editing those records as needed. <br /> As of December 2013, the Content hubs include the following institutions: <br /> ARTstor <br /> Biodiversity Heritage Library <br /> David Rumsey Map Collection <br /> Harvard Library <br /> HathiTrust Digital Library <br /> National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) <br /> New York Public Library <br /> Smithsonian Institution <br /> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign <br /> University of Southern California Libraries <br /> University of Virginia <br />
  • The DPLA Service hubs are state or regional digital libraries that aggregate information about digital objects from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions within its given state or region. Each Service hub offers its state or regional partners a full menu of standardized digital services, including digitization, metadata assistance and training, data aggregation and storage services, as well as locally hosted community outreach programs, bringing users in contact with digital content of local relevance. <br /> As of December2013, the Service hubs include the following institutions: <br /> Digital Commonwealth (Massachusetts) <br /> Digital Library of Georgia <br /> Empire State Digital Network (New York) <br /> Kentucky Digital Library <br /> Minnesota Digital Library <br /> Mountain West Digital Library (Utah, Nevada, Southern Idaho, Arizona) <br /> North Carolina Digital Heritage Center <br /> Portal to Texas History <br /> South Carolina Digital Library <br />
  • To help visualize the relationship between the different pieces of the Service hub relationship, one can imagine your local historical society or public library as a pond, containing in it unique, valuable cultural content. These ponds send their content through tributaries to the lakes, the DPLA Service hubs, which aggregate data from the various cultural heritage institutions across their state or region, the ponds. The Service hubs then feed this content through rivers to the ocean, the DPLA. <br />
  • In addition to serving as a content portal for students, teachers, scholars, and the public, the DPLA is also a powerful platform that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. With an application programming interface (API) and maximally open data, the DPLA can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and engaging apps. <br />
  • Through the DPLA’s powerful, open API, developers from all walks of life can build tools, programs, widgets, plug-ins, and all kinds of interesting things. <br /> (An API can be described as a set of routines, protocols, and digital tools for building software applications. An API is a software-to-software interface, not a user interface. With APIs, applications talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention. A good API makes it easier for a developer to create an application that makes use of a particular set or sets of data by providing all the building blocks needed to integrate into his or her design. A software company, for instance, releases its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service.) <br /> The DPLA App Library contains a handful of applications built by independent developers interested in seeing what open cultural heritage data can look in new and interesting contexts. (Examples included over next two slides…) <br />
  • OpenPics, for instance, is an open source iOS application for viewing images from multiple remote sources, including the DPLA API. Download it now for free from the Apple store! <br />
  • Culture Collage is a simple tool that lets you search the DPLA’s image archives and view the results in a stream of images. Just keep scrolling to fetch more. Clicking on an image saves it to a scrapbook without losing your position in the stream. <br />
  • Want a local copy of the DPLA’s data? All data in the DPLA repository (and provided through the API) is available for download. These include the standard DPLA fields, as well as the complete record received from the partner. <br />
  • All data brought into the DPLA from its partners is normalized to the DPLA Metadata Application Profile (MAP) and enriched with useful information, such as geospatial data. GeoNames, for instance, is a geographical database containing millions of unique geographical names corresponding to discrete places on the globe. Through enrichments like this the DPLA is making cultural heritage data more useful and relevant to its users. <br />
  • For most of American history, the ability to access materials for free through public libraries has been a central part of our culture, producing generations of avid readers and a knowledgeable, engaged citizenry. The DPLA works, along with like-minded organizations and individuals, to ensure that this critical, open intellectual landscape remains vibrant and broad in the face of increasingly restrictive digital options. The DPLA seeks to multiply openly accessible materials to strengthen the public option that libraries represent in their communities. <br /> The DPLA wants to operate fully within copyright law. Still, the DPLA thinks there are alternate models out there that can creatively expand our access to important cultural materials. <br />
  • With institutions like Creative Commons,, History Harvest, and others, the DPLA advocates for a broad and deep open access ecology. <br /> Creative Commons – Non-profit that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Their free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. <br /> – Can be thought of as a Kickstarter for books. Through this model, publishers or authors post their books and provide a dollar figure at which they’ll release an open access e-book copy. People contribute money a la Kickstarter to get a book “unglued.” <br /> History Harvest: From the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. At each “harvest,” community-members are invited to bring and share their letters, photographs, objects and stories, and participate in a conversation about the significance and meaning of their materials. Each artifact is digitally captured by college students and then shared in this free web-based archive for general educational use and study. <br />
  • The DPLA is also a deep supporter of the open culture community, including the OpenGLAM and GLAM Wiki initiatives (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums). <br />
  • All things considered, the DPLA is an ever-growing national network of libraries, archives, museums, cultural heritage institutions, and volunteers, with a local impact in our communities, strengthened by a global reach. <br />
  • Like what you hear and want to get involved in the DPLA’s work? There are a number of ways to get involved. Here are just a few: <br /> Make and share a playlist of your favorite items in the DPLA’s collections; <br /> Hop on the DPLA forums and connect with other folks interested in the DPLA; <br /> Attend a DPLA event (check out the “Events” tab), or sit in on a DPLA Board Board of Directors call, which are open to the public; <br /> Like to code? Check out the API, a powerful, open tool offering complete access to metadata records for over 5.4 million cultural heritage items in libraries, archives, and museums across the US; <br /> Apply to become a Community Rep! The DPLA is always looking for people to spread the word about the portal, platform, and its mission to expand the realm of open access materials. If you want to get involved more deeply as a volunteer Community Rep, visit <br /> Donate to the DPLA! The DPLA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which means all donations are tax-exempt. Visit to make a difference today. <br /> Lastly, if you’re interested in contributing content to the DPLA, please head to the “Become a Partner” section on the DPLA website. There you can find information on how to determine whether your institution might be a potential Service or Content Hub, as well as contact information for DPLA staff who can help answer questions and provide guidance. <br />

Digital Public Library of America Digital Public Library of America Presentation Transcript

  • What, Where, Who, Why, How? Pizza and the DPLA
  • 2 Copyright?
  • 3 And open access….
  • Some basic questions: • What is the DPLA? • Where is it located? • Who is this? • Why should you be interested? • How does it work?
  • What is the DPLA? • Officially, the DPLA is “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that [draws] on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives and museums in order to educate , informa, and empower everyone on current and future generations”. So, it’s not a place but a pointer. • Unoffically – it’s really cool! Here’s why I think so…
  • 6 • The DPLA is essentially a single point of entry for a hub of information • It’s an easy on-ramp for smaller organizations • The DPLA contains aggregated metadata - not the actual online items. Those remain at their original location.
  • 7 Where and who? • People, places… How is it paid for? - Private sources include the Sloan Foundation (which provided the initial planning grant, the first large grant award of $2.5 million,the Arcadia Fund (which matched Sloan with another $2.5 million), the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, the Mellon Foundation and, most recently, the Knight Foundation (which has just provided $1 million to support the new service and content hubs in several of Knight’s core communities). Public agencies include the National Endowment for the Humanities (which has provided two grants, totaling more than $1 million) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. When did it go live? - April 18, 2013.
  • 8 Why should be you be interested? • Because…the DPLA is great at providing context, pulling together strands of our history and cultural heritage, and organizing those strands into one tapestry of common knowledge. Contextualizing history, as told through the primary source documents like government documents and images, is, in my mind, the #1 thing that DPLA does. • And what good is a collection that no one uses?
  • 9 How does it work? • Through cooperation and collaboration
  • 18 Hubs and growing
  • National network of partners
  • OpenPics INNOVATIVE APPS Works great on phones and tablets!
  • 29 Uh, what’s a json file?… • JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate.
  • The Context • Lots of cultural heritage content is already available online, and more content is coming online every day.
  • The Problem • Unfortunately, much of this distributed content is poorly discoverable and underutilized by the general public. • That is to say, what good is a collection if no one knows about it or uses it?
  • The Proposal • Build something like a LinkedIn profile for every special library, archive, and museum collection in the country. • A platform that simplifies cross-collection aggregation and interoperability.
  • Because after all,
  • Summary • DPLA is a networking platform that helps cultural organizations maximize the discovery and use of their content.
  • A group of librarians in the Kaaterskill (Catskill Mountains, New York), 1913. F. W. Faxon. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. American Library Association Archives
  • 8
  • GET INVOLVED o Creating and Sharing List on DPLA Portal o Discussion Forums o Events o API o Community of Developers o Apply to become a Community Rep o Donate o Be a partner
  • Locally… • Empire State Digital Network (New York)… the ESDN is the first service hub to be created explicitly as a means for sharing New York’s rich digital cultural heritage with the DPLA. The Network will be administered by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) in collaboration with eight allied regional library councils collectively working as NY3Rs Association.This includes the RRLC. • Together, they will provide the necessary personnel and technological infrastructure needed to contribute digital resources from hundreds of New York’s libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage institutions to the Digital Public Library of America.
  • An example of PondsStreamsOceans • Which is a fancy way of saying that members of the site will be members of the ESDN and thus in the DPLA.
  • 53 Further information? • Who are local members? • Who do you ask for detailed information - how to join, costs involved expectations, etc? • Frances Andreu - at the RRLC • Experiences as a volunteer cataloging metadata and scanning - Larry Naukam
  • 54 • Questions? Lookups? Can you see it in action?