The first Digital Public Library of America plenary meeting came to a close this afternoon. Over 300 government leaders, librarians, technologists, makers, students, and others interested in building a national digital library gathered at the National Archives in Washington, DC today to share their visions for the DPLA.
The morning kicked off with a big announcement: the Sloan Foundation and the Arcadia Fund have contributed $5 million in funding to the DPLA over the next two years. The funding will support an intense grassroots process to build a realistic and detailed workplan for a national digital library, the development of a functional technical prototype, and targeted content digitization efforts.
A number of government leaders, including James Leach, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Susan Hildreth, the Director of the Institute for Museum and Library Services, expressed their support and enthusiasm for the DPLA. David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, declared that every object in the National Archives should be digitized and available worldwide, to great applause.
After a short break, Jill Cousins of Europeana made another surprise announcement: Europeana and the DPLA will be collaborating to promote interoperability between libraries, museums, and archives in the United States and Europe. The collaboration will include a virtual exhibition about the migration of Europeans to the United States, which will bring together a number of collections and objects documenting the journey from the Old World to the New.
Jill then joined a panel, moderated by ALA President-Elect Maureen Sullivan, of speakers from a number of fields, backgrounds, and approaches, who spoke about their vision for the DPLA and the promise the DPLA has for their communities. Several of these speakers, including Carl Malamud and Amanda French, have made the full text of their remarks available online.
The conference reconvened after lunch for demos by nine Beta Sprint presentations ranging from data visualization tools to visual storytelling projects to complete DPLA prototypes and more. For those who missed the presentations, more information about all of the Beta Sprint submissions (plus demos) is available on our website.
The day concluded with brief presentations from each DPLA workstream. Workstream members met yesterday at the Gelman Library at George Washington University to begin to discuss and map out key questions, critical challenges, and potential ways forward for each group. Each workstream developed a mission-in-progress and a short list of priorities to share with today’s audience. The draft mission statements are available on Slideshare; more information about each workstream is available online.
Many thanks to the fantastic teams at both the George Washington University Libraries and the National Archives for hosting us, to ImageThink for sparking our imagination with their amazing graphic records of the day’s sessions, and to everyone who participated, both in person and online. Stay tuned next week for photos, video, and more!