Congratulations on the Launch, DPLA!

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By Diana Geis, Audience and Participation Workstream Coordinator and Jessica Keyes, participant

After 2 years of care and feeding, the Berkman Center, Harvard University, is ready to step back and push the little Digital Public Library of America bird out of the nest. And so, on Thursday, April 18, at 12:00 noon, with the push of a button (and the symbolic ring of a bell), the DPLA was launched. Check out the beautiful new website at


During the 2 years that DPLA was in development, librarians, business people, computer technology magicians, attorneys, and others gathered in cities across the country to discuss details of how to create a digital library that was vast, free, accessible, and included unexpected and the unique content in digital formats. This process involved collaboration between an eclectic and energetic set of minds that pieced together huge amounts of data. With great success, an already-formidable set of digital collections has launched with free access for everyone, not only to the collections but to the metadata and API that the DPLA is built on—meaning that anyone with the know-how can create their own web and mobile applications based on DPLA collections.

DSC_0121Enoch Pratt Free Library CEO Dr Carla Hayden is a board member for DPLA and served as co-chair of the Audience and Participation workstream, which was responsible for identifying the DPLA audience and envisioning tools that could be created to serve their needs.

The official launch of the DPLA was scheduled to take place in Boston at the Boston Public Library—in front of which one of the bombs exploded during the April 15 Boston Marathon. The launch event was canceled out of respect for the staff and community working to overcome the tragedy. Rallying to support the few DPLA people who were in Boston, the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. thoughtfully threw out a last minute invitation, to whomever could make it, to a small version of the launch. It was a wonderful expression of support from 40 or so DPLA supporters and participants from the DC, Baltimore, and Virginia areas (and the Girl Scout cookies were delicious!).

Visit today to explore an incredible variety digital collections from across the country.

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