U.S. Intellectual History Blog

The Digital Public Library of America’s Beta Sprint

A few months ago, Tim called our attention to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  With a steering committee based at Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet & Society and funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the DPLA initiative was conceived as a non-commercial alternative to Google’s proposed digital library, or an American counterpart to the EU’s Europeana digital library (which, though not yet fully implemented, has at least been around long enough to have a logo).   Although announced last December, DPLA got a big boost this March, when Google’s proposed agreement with publishers on orphan works was thrown out by Federal Judge Denny Chin.

Late last week, the DPLA Steering Committee announced its first big step forward, what they’re calling a “Beta Sprint,” an open call for groups and individuals to propose

ideas, models, prototypes, technical tools, user interfaces, etc.—put forth as a written statement, a visual display, code, or a combination of forms—that demonstrate how the DPLA might index and provide access to a wide range of broadly distributed content.

A short statement of intent is due on June 15; final proposals are due September 1.  The DPLA Steering Committee is planning to hold a public meeting in Washington, DC sometime this fall at which the winning ideas will be presented to the public.

Although the Beta Sprint is free and open to anyone over the age of 18, I don’t imagine many readers of this blog are likely to participate. However, my guess is that many of us will watch with great interest to see what comes of this effort.

Lots of additional information about DPLA is available on the project’s website and wiki.

2 Thoughts on this Post

  1. I find it curious that you “don’t imagine many readers of this blog are likely to participate.” Care to elaborate your thoughts?

  2. Sure, Anon.

    AFAIK, the folks who read this blog aren’t specialists in library science, intellectual property law, the digital preservation and presentation of knowledge, or any of the other areas from which I imagine the core group of participants in the Beta Sprint will come.

    I think most of us are more likely to be potential (very intensive) consumers of the DPLA than creators of it.

    (Of course, the participants and readers of this blog are a smart bunch, so if any of us are inclined to take part in the Beta Sprint, I’m sure we’d produce interesting proposals.)

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