The Digital Public Library of America launched today, and currently features 10,000 images from ARTstor, maps and images from the David Rumsey collection, digitized materials (text and images) from several repositories in the United States, including the New York Public Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Smithsonian Institution to name just a few. More content and partners are expected to be added as the digital library grows (and one notable missing repository is the Library of Congress). The three-fold mission of the Digital Public Library of America is to serve as:
1. A portal that delivers students, teachers, scholars, and the public to incredible resources, wherever they may be in America. Far more than a search engine, the portal provides innovative ways to search and scan through the united collection of millions of items, including by timeline, map, format, and topic.
2. A platform that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. With an application programming interface (API) and maximally open data, the DPLA can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and engaging apps.
3. An advocate for a strong public option in the twenty-first century. For most of American history, the ability to access materials for free through public libraries has been a central part of our culture, producing generations of avid readers and a knowledgeable, engaged citizenry. The DPLA will work, along with like-minded organizations and individuals, to ensure that this critical, open intellectual landscape remains vibrant and broad in the face of increasingly restrictive digital options. The DPLA will seek to multiply openly accessible materials to strengthen the public option that libraries represent in their communities.
In addition to robust search and browse—format, place, and date—functions, the DPLA also has online exhibitions of curated materials that present a variety of cultural topics. You can sign up for a free account to create lists, save items, and save searches.