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Digital Public Library of America


  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    38,000 historical maps at DPLA

    More than three decades ago, David Rumsey began building a map collection. By the mid-90s he had thousands and thousands of maps to call his own -- and his alone. He wanted to share them with the public.He could have donated them to the Library of Congress, but Rumsey had even bigger ideas: the Internet. "With (some) institutions, the access you can get is not nearly as much as the Internet might provide," Rumsey told Wired more than a decade ago. "I realized I could reach a much larger audience with the Internet."Bit by bit, Rumsey digitized his collection -- up to 38,000 maps and other items -- along the way developing software that made it easier for people to explore the maps and 3D objects such as globes online. Today, the Digital Public Library of America announced that Rumsey's collection would now be available through the DPLA portal, placing the maps into the deeper and broader context of the DPLA's other holdings....

  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    Lincoln Mullen: A First Look at the Digital Public Library of America

    Lincoln Mullen is a PhD candidate at Brandeis University and a historian of religion in early America and the nineteenth century.Last Thursday at noon the Digital Public Library of America launched its website. The opening festivities, which had been booked solid with a long wait list for weeks, were canceled, since the venue at the main branch of the Boston Public Library was adjacent to the site of the bombing in Boston earlier that week. But the DPLA, which is a website and not a location, went ahead with the launch of the public service anyway....

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    Robert Darnton: Information, Free to All

    Robert Darnton is a professor and university librarian at Harvard University.Some have detected a revolutionary message behind the choice of today as the date to launch the Digital Public Library of America—a project to make the holdings of libraries, archives, and museums freely available in digital form to all Americans. They’re right.“On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five,” as Longfellow put it in “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” Paul Revere did not merely warn the farmers of Lexington and Concord that the redcoats were coming. His “midnight message” was a call for liberty. To free Americans’ access to knowledge may not be so dramatic, but it is equally important; for Revere and all the founding fathers knew that a republic could not flourish unless its citizens were educated and informed.Nor is it a coincidence that the launching pad of the Digital Public Library of America is the Boston Public Library, the first great public library in America, which proclaims in letters chiseled over its main entrance, “Free to All.” That is the revolutionary message of the DPLA. It will make our country’s heritage available to everyone and at no charge: “Free to All.”...

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    With new leader Dan Cohen, Digital Public Library of America prepares for its debut

    The long-planned Digital Public Library of America is set to make its public debut on schedule next month, with a two-day series of events, to be held April 18-19 at the Boston Public Library, and a new, high-profile leader at the helm. The DPLA announced on Tuesday that Daniel J. Cohen, a leading digital-humanities scholar, will be the project’s founding executive director.Mr. Cohen comes to the project from George Mason University, where he directs the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. In the announcement, John Palfrey, president of the DPLA’s Board of Directors, praised Mr. Cohen’s contributions to libraries and digital scholarship.