Ever been working on a paper and you just can’t find a good history primary source? Library closed, and paper is due in a few hours? Don’t worry, there is a backup plan! Recently, various library leaders across the country came together to create a digital library, full to bursting with historical sources and references. And that website is the DPLA, The Digital Public Library of America. It is what it sounds like, more or less. Starting with over two million items, each with its own special story and significance, the Digital Public Library of America will now begin to assemble the riches of our country’s libraries, archives, and museums, and connect them with the public. They even have a few apps to go with it, allowing you to search for information anytime, anywhere! There are three major elements of the DPLA (at least according to the website).
· First, an easy-to-use portal where anyone can access America’s collections and search through them using novel and powerful techniques, including by place and time.
· Second, a sophisticated technical platform that will make those millions of items available in ways so that others can build creative and transformative applications upon them, such as smartphone apps that magically reveal the history around you.
· Third, along with like-minded institutions and individuals the DPLA will seek innovative means to make more cultural and scientific content openly available, and it will advocate for a strong public option for reading and research in the twenty-first century.
It’s an easy website to use: just type in whatever you want to look for, and it will give you a good amount of information, just right there. There are also lots of nice pictures and information, so if you want to just look around for fun, I say give it a look. It’s brand new, having “opened” on April 19, so it will hopefully continue growing and getting new information, with more digital fun to be had. With everything going online these days, it makes sense that the next logical step is a full digital library run by libraries and librarians. Whether you need a source before class at 10:00 am, or you just have some spare time and want to learn about the history of baseball, give this website a browse. Head on over to www.dp.la and continue the digital revolution!