Have you heard of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
? It's an ambitious project that aims to give free access to online collections in more than a thousand American libraries, archives and museums, and today it came one step closer to reaching a major goal.
The Knight and Sloan Foundations announced
a $3.4 million gift to the DPLA that will help bring institutions in all 50 states on board by 2017.
I was not familiar with the DPLA but I'm glad I had a chance to check out their website, which is really a portal. There are some interesting and powerful ways to search the contents of the DPLA, including by geographic area
and by timeline
- even by colour
At first I wasn't sure whether there'd be much Canadian content there, but I was pleasantly surprised. I used the map function and narrowed in on the location options to Canada, then browsed the results I got for Washington state to see what might be there in terms of BC content. I found some cool old pictures of Pender Street (1923)
, and a girls' race at Brockton Point (1922)
, and an old-time sightseeing tour bus in Vancouver (1923)
. While looking for Winnipeg-related artifacts I came across this "silver dollar launching coin"
, a memento given to a Winnipeg-born shipbuilder upon the successful launch of a ship in San Francisco. That particular artifact was from a Smithsonian museum - which has more than a million records in the DPLA.
I encourage you to check out the DPLA and the incredible content it gives access to... kind of a fun Friday activity!
On a related note, you might be interested the announcement of the second Knight News Challenge on innovation in libraries
, an international contest which will run early in 2016. Last year's contest funded 22 projects with $3 million (among them was The Internet Archive
, creator of our beloved Wayback Machine). Check the winners out here
or learn about them in this video: