Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Launches Today

“It’s a great day for education and progress, as if the Ancient Library of Alexandria had met the Modern World Wide Web and digitized America for the benefit of all,” said Doron Weber, Vice Chair of the DPLA Steering Committee.

The DPLA is the first national digital library in the world with 2.4 million objects that are currently available. Executive Director, Dan Cohen, explains DPLA in three major points:

  • First, an easy-to-use portal where anyone can access America’s collections and search through them using novel and powerful techniques, including by place and time.
  • Second, a sophisticated technical platform that will make those millions of items available in ways so that others can build creative and transformative applications upon them, such as smartphone apps that magically reveal the history around you.
  • Third, along with like-minded institutions and individuals the DPLA will seek innovative means to make more cultural and scientific content openly available, and it will advocate for a strong public option for reading and research in the twenty-first century.

Digital copies of some objects are available for download, based on the content provider and the individual rights status of the object. The copyright status of items in the DPLA varies. Many items are in the public domain. For individual rights information about an item, please check the Rights field in the metadata or follow the link to the digital object on the content provider’s website for more information. The Harvard Crimson wrote, “Under the current copyright laws, the DPLA can only publish works 70 years past the author’s death, which makes the bulk of the twentieth century production still unavailable. The staff of the DPLA, however, is working to overcome this obstacle.”

Library Journal also has an article in celebration of the DPLA launch that highlights the collaborative efforts made along the road.

We hope you enjoy this exciting new collection!

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Paris 3D: An Exraordinary Interactive Journey through Time

Dassault Systèmes has developed an online 3D model of the city of Paris, and they invite users to play the 3D experience on their website. Users may explore Paris by time period: Gallic period, Gallo-Roman period, the Middle Ages, the French Revolution, and the World’s Fair. Users can also explore the virtual city by historical monuments, and see how the city was built piece by piece with the help of historical expertise.

The Bastille in Paris as it looked around the time of the French Revolution, according to a multimedia rendering by Dassault Systèmes.

In his article from the NYT, Eric Pfanner, writes, “The core of the project is the interactive modeling, now available as an application for tablet computers. At the touch of the screen, you can zoom through two millennia of urban development, visiting the famous landmarks of Paris, including some that no longer exist.”

“Building Paris 3D took a team of 20 experts two years to assemble. Dassault, whose software is more commonly used by architects to design buildings, or by car companies to simulate the effects of crashes, worked with specialists from the Carnavalet and consulted old maps, archaeological drawings and other records in a quest for historical accuracy.”