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Old 04-05-2013, 11:11 AM   #1
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DPLA - Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America is soon to open its doors. From the New York Review of Books:

The National Digital Public Library Is Launched!

Brief excerpts from the lengthy article:

Quote:
The Digital Public Library of America, to be launched on April 18, is a project to make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans—and eventually to everyone in the world—online and free of charge.

The DPLA will be a distributed system of electronic content that will make the holdings of public and research libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies available, effortlessly and free of charge, to readers located at every connecting point of the Web. To make it work, we must think big and begin small. At first, the DPLA’s offering will be limited to a rich variety of collections—books, manuscripts, and works of art—that have already been digitized in cultural institutions throughout the country. Around this core it will grow, gradually accumulating material of all kinds until it will function as a national digital library.

The trajectory of its development can be understood from the history of its origin—and it does have a history, although it is not yet three years old. It germinated from a conference held at Harvard on October 1, 2010, a small affair involving forty persons, most of them heads of foundations and libraries. In a letter of invitation, I included a one-page memo about the basic idea: “to make the bulk of world literature available to all citizens free of charge” by creating “a grand coalition of foundations and research libraries.” In retrospect, that sounds suspiciously utopian, but everyone at the meeting agreed that the job was worth doing and that we could get it done.

We also agreed on a short description of it, which by now has become a mission statement. The DPLA, we resolved, would be “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in the current and future generations.”
Basically, the DPLA will be a central database that links to the e-collections of libraries all around the country (and eventually the world). It will be limited, of course, to out-of-copyright works, or works for whom authors and/or publishers have given permission for their inclusion. But I think this is a BIG step forward (avoiding the commercial issues of Google's efforts) that will one day see a much freer access to a HUGE block of information that was unimaginable a couple of decades ago.

The DPLA's (preliminary, until April 18th) web site is a VERY short URL:

http://dp.la/

Last edited by ekaser; 04-06-2013 at 04:20 PM. Reason: typo correction
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:46 PM   #2
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Good work!
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:48 PM   #3
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It's going to be interesting to how this works out. It could end up being a great resource.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekaser View Post
It will be limited, of course, to out-of-copyright works, or works for whom authors and/or publishers have given permission for their inclusion.
This part right here is going to kill it. No publisher in their right mind is going to give permission to include their ebooks in such a project, and all they have to do is just keep stringing out US copyright length until the project dies.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ekaser View Post
It will be limited, of course, to out-of-copyright works, or works for whom authors and/or publishers have given permission for their inclusion.
If you assume (with good reason) that there will be very, very few in-copyright works for which permission will be given, how is that different from Project Gutenberg, again? Other than being a couple of decades behind, that is.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin View Post
If you assume (with good reason) that there will be very, very few in-copyright works for which permission will be given, how is that different from Project Gutenberg, again?
Gutenberg.org has 42,000 corrected scans.

This sounds to me more like archive.org, which has 4.4 million scans, virtually all uncorrected.

In addition, the Digital Public Library of America says they will have links to reproductions of art works and manuscripts.

It seems a bit strange to me that they tie themselves, in their name, to a particular nation (America).

How about a Digital Public Library of the Seychelles (Life + 25)? It it would be illegal to download those books unless you were there. But it's supposed to be a good vacation spot

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 04-05-2013 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
This part right here is going to kill it. No publisher in their right mind is going to give permission to include their ebooks in such a project, and all they have to do is just keep stringing out US copyright length until the project dies.
While I agree that copyright length is already WAY too long, and IS a problem, I disagree that they will be ABLE to "keep stringing out US copyright length" in the future. The last time it was extended was in 1998 when the internet was still in its infancy. I don't believe that will ever happen again. Look at what happened with CISPA and PIPA last year. Congress gets away with a LOT of crap, but when something comes up that strikes at the hearts of LOTS of internet users... enough people screaming about something can even set slimeball politicians back on their heels. I'm not saying it's impossible for them to extend copyrights any further, but it's going to be MUCH MUCH harder in the future than it was in the past!
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin View Post
If you assume (with good reason) that there will be very, very few in-copyright works for which permission will be given, how is that different from Project Gutenberg, again? Other than being a couple of decades behind, that is.
It's different from PG in that it has the support of a lot of major libraries AND museums, and I'm sure it will gain a LOT more as it gets under way. Also, PG is limited in terms of what they include. They're a GREAT project and resource, but I think DPLA and PG will be more complimentary than competitive.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
Gutenberg.org has 42,000 corrected scans.

This sounds to me more like archive.org, which has 4.4 million scans, virtually all uncorrected.
Another quote from the article:

Quote:
The DPLA’s “content hubs” are large repositories of digital material, usually held in physical locations like the Internet Archive in San Francisco. They will make their data accessible to users directly through the DPLA without passing through any intermediate aggregators. “Service hubs”—centers for collecting material—will aggregate data and provide various services at the state or regional level. The DPLA cannot deal directly with all the libraries, archives, and museums in the United States, because that would require its central administration to become involved in developing hundreds of thousands of interfaces and links. But development among local institutions is now being coordinated at the state level, and the DPLA will work with the states to create an integrated system for the entire country.
In other words, the Internet Archive will almost certainly be PART of the DPLA database. I would be very surprised if Project Gutenberg doesn't link into it at some point as well. The DPLA is NOT a "digitization project" like PG. It's a coordinating "mega-database" that links to the databases of many libraries, museums and other organizations (such as archives.com and PG, as examples) who DO have digitized collections. The DPLA will provide a "single source" SEARCH capability, letting you hunt through hundreds of collections with a single search.

This is a very different beast, and I think it's going to be extremely successful (and USEFUL).

Time will tell...
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Old 04-06-2013, 04:28 PM   #10
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There's a very similar project in Germany called Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (Digital Library of Germany).

The main idea behind the german project is collecting scans of different universities and libraries, not providing Epub manuscripts for the end user.
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:26 PM   #11
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Oooh, Oooh, Oooh!

As someone who does a lot of historical and genealogical research online, this sounds wonderful!
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekaser View Post
Look at what happened with CISPA and PIPA last year. Congress gets away with a LOT of crap, but when something comes up that strikes at the hearts of LOTS of internet users... enough people screaming about something can even set slimeball politicians back on their heels.
True, but the politicians also got a nasty "we bought you, so next time stay bought!" letter from the RIAA and MPAA.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekaser View Post
While I agree that copyright length is already WAY too long, and IS a problem, I disagree that they will be ABLE to "keep stringing out US copyright length" in the future. The last time it was extended was in 1998 when the internet was still in its infancy. I don't believe that will ever happen again. Look at what happened with CISPA and PIPA last year. Congress gets away with a LOT of crap, but when something comes up that strikes at the hearts of LOTS of internet users... enough people screaming about something can even set slimeball politicians back on their heels. I'm not saying it's impossible for them to extend copyrights any further, but it's going to be MUCH MUCH harder in the future than it was in the past!
We will need a constitutional amendment to fix this problem. Disney is bound and determined not to let Mickey Mouse go into to public domain. If you don't know, this is the reason copyright keeps getting extended. The constitution forbids a permanent copyright so it needs to be changed to protect Mickey. In England there are two items on permanent copyright (Peter Pan and the KJV original Bible) and we will need to do something similar to protect Mickey. At this time the US has already committed to a switch to life plus 70 so that will protect Mickey for a few more years.

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Old 04-08-2013, 08:26 PM   #14
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I do think this may be a place to send our excellent eBooks when we can no longer host them here do to international pressure.

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Old 04-08-2013, 08:49 PM   #15
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The constitution forbids a permanent copyright so it needs to be changed to protect Mickey.
Mickey Mouse does have a permanent trademark.

I think that, for the foreseeable future, US copyright lengths are frozen. They can't be further extended because there would be an enormous web outcry against it. And there isn't much political pressure to reduce them because few Americans are seriously interested in works near the borderline of current copyright limits.
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