Over the last couple years, we’ve occasionally tracked the progress of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), a project born at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. We are now approaching the DPLA’s actual launch, which will take place this Thursday, April. 18. The DPLA can be found at http://dp.la.
Rather than summarize what the DPLA will be at its launch, and what it hopes to become in the future, I recommend that everyone read Robert Darnton’s excellent New York Review of Books article announcing the DPLA’s opening. In addition to discussing the DPLA’s goals, he also describes its (brief) history.
Readers of this blog know that I am a cautious enthusiast of the so-called digital humanities. I think digital technology offers all kinds of exciting opportunities for the humanities, most of which we’ve barely started to explore. But, on the other hand, we should be careful not to waste our energies either wallowing in vaporware or confusing tools, however excellent, for content. I have a feeling that the DPLA is one of those projects that will truly make a difference, not merely in the lives of academics, but also of students and laypeople. I’m delighted that it’s ready for its premiere.