The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has launched a beta of its discovery portal and open platform. The portal delivers millions of materials found in American archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions to students, teachers, scholars, and the public. The portal also provides innovative ways to search and scan through its united collection of distributed resources. Special features include a dynamic map, a timeline that allow users to visually browse by year or decade, and an app library that provides access to applications and tools created by external developers using DPLA’s open data.
The DPLA portal is powered by a rich repository of information, known as the DPLA platform, which enables new uses of America’s 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. The DPLA App Library (dp.la/apps) features an initial slate of applications built on top of the platform; developers and hobbyists of all skill levels are freely able to make use of the data provided via the platform.
To date, the DPLA has partnered with six state and regional digital libraries and an equal number of large cultural heritage institutions— including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Public Library, and Harvard University—to provide access to millions of unique digital objects.
With its content partners, the DPLA has developed a number of diverse virtual exhibitions (dp.la/exhibitions) that tell the stories of people, places, and historical events both here in the US and abroad; all are available freely via the portal.
“The wonder and joy of entering an expansive library for the first time is truly a special feeling. We are delighted to be able to share this unified, open collection with Americans and the world, and can’t wait to see what people discover, and what new applications and knowledge will be created,” said Dan Cohen, Executive Director of the DPLA.