Press: “This is Exciting: The Digital Public Library of America”

Posted by Kenny Whitebloom on January 5, 2012 in Press.

“In early December of last year, Professor Robert Darnton of Harvard University was interviewed by Rhys Tranter, a PhD candidate at Cardiff University. Darnton warned that “commercial interests are exploiting digital technology in order to fence off large parts of our cultural commons,” but that the Digital Public Library of America is ‘an answer to that threat.’

“To the question, how does the Digital Library of America compare with the idea of a Digital Republic of Learning, Darnton replied in a way which should excite everyone. To him, the Digital Public Library of America is more than a gleam in his eye and no mere utopian dream. The Library is taking shape now and may emerge fully fledged by 2020. The general idea for the Library is ‘to make available, free of charge, the cultural heritage of our great research libraries,’ but in a non-commercial way, unlike Google’s book project, which has been tangled up in the courts over copyright.

“Money, of course, is necessary, but Darnton stated that major American foundations ‘are enthusiastically supporting this idea.’ As for the technology, the Library is working with computer scientists who say that ‘this is not even difficult, they can design the infrastructure for this new library.’ Of course, ‘digital’ means that it will be a ‘distributed system,’ not some colossal structure rivaling the Pentagon. Indeed, it won’t be one big database, either, but a system of linked databases ‘scattered all over the United States in a way to make them perfectly compatible: the user won’t even know where the book, or the pamphlet or the manuscript is located.'”

From Randy Barnhart’s post on rbarnhartblog, This is Exciting: The Digital Public Library of America

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