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Where Minds Matter

The Digital Library of America

On April 18th, 2013, The Digital Library of American launched on the Internet. It brings together exhibits from libraries, archives and museums all across America, and makes them freely available to the world. Their goal is to offer up the full range of human expression from art to science and everything in between, and to do so in a free and open manner.

Screenshot of the Digital Library' search by map feature

Screenshot of the Digital Library’ search by map feature

It looks as though this is going to be an amazing new resource for students, teachers, scholars, and the public, regardless of where they may be in America. Positioning themselves as “more than a search engine”, The Digital Library of America is implementing innovative ways to search the millions of items within their collections, including timelines, maps, format searches, and topical searches.

According to Phys.org:

The site created through the impetus of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society is modeled after the Europeana library in Europe and the Australian National Library’s Trove project.

Cohen said DPLA can be used as a search portal for researchers, as an alternative to a search engine like Google because it is a self-contained site with many objects that might not be available by Web search.

For students as researchers, DPLA can be an alternative to Wikipedia, because the new library will be a primary resource.
“Wikipedia is a secondary source, but we are going to have the stuff,” Cohen said. “But I think Wikipedia will be a great partner.”

The library partners are substantial, including: The Smithsonian Institute, The Kentucky Digital Library, ARTstor, University of Virginia Library, the DIgital Commonwealth, NARA, and Harvard Library; just to name a few.


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