Press: “‘Library of the Future’ Gets $1-Million Boost From Humanities Endowment”

Posted by Christina Powers on July 31, 2012 in Press.

“The NEH grant will help support a pilot program of DPLA ‘service hubs’ at the state or regional level. The hubs will function as a kind of information ‘on ramp’ to digital content coordinated and made findable by the DPLA, according to Maura Marx, director of the DPLA Secretariat, which coordinates DPLA planning. Eight working groups have been focused on specific workstreams: content and scope, legal issues, and so on.

“The model sounds more federated than top-down. The hubs won’t be built from scratch; they will draw on existing institutions and digital-library projects that have emerged as state or regional anchors for online content. ‘We’re trying to pull together what already exists on the state level,’ says Ms. Marx. Every state already has some cultural institution that has emerged as an anchor for online content, she says—the Boston Public Library, in Massachusetts, for instance, or the University of Georgia.

“In an interview, Jim Leach, chairman of the NEH, explained why his agency felt the DPLA was worth supporting. ‘The significance of this area of endeavor is extraordinary,’ he says. Digitizing content represents ‘a truly remarkable step toward the democratization of knowledge,’ he says. ‘Now DPLA isn’t the only initiative in the world, but I believe it is an important one that will play a role.’

“Given its financial constraints, the NEH can play only a modest role, according to Mr. Leach. ‘The end cost of this is going to be extraordinary, and I’m very hopeful—and they’re very confident—that this is going to be principally propelled through foundation interests,’ the chairman says. The Arcadia Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are among the private groups that have already thrown monetary support behind the DPLA.”

From Jennifer Howard’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Library of the Future’ Gets $1-Million Boost From Humanities Endowment

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