The newest of the new in cultural online materials is the Digital Public Library of America. The beta version went live just last week, on April 18, 2013.
The site brings together a wealth of already digitized material from America’s libraries, archives, and museums into a freely accessible portal. Millions of items have already been added: photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more. Regional collections are linked to make them available throughout the U.S. For instance, content from a few major institutional collections (like Harvard University and the
National Archive) are included.
The data included is also as open as possible. Specific restrictions notwithstanding, the materials are available for bulk download, and the DPLA code is available as open source for users to develop their own discovery tools and apps.
And that is just the beginning! There are already seven digital exhibitions and two discovery apps available. The DPLA is also collaborating with Europeana, the multi-lingual online collection of millions of
digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and
multi-media collections. And besides public domain materials, the DPLA is working to make in-copyright items available (see John Palfrey's article in the April 15, 2013, issue of Libray Journal).