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. How is that possible? In order to answer that question, I would like to describe the first steps and immediate future of the DPLA. But before going into detail, I think it important to stand back and take a broad view of how such an ambitious undertaking fits into the development of what we commonly call an information society.
The Digital Public Library of America: Information Wants to Be Free
If, as Thomas Jefferson famously stated, a well-informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will, then free public access to repositories of information and the wealth of human knowledge is a prerequisite of self government. Next month, a great step forward in this regard will be taken with the launch of the Digital Public Library of America. The New York Review of Books provides some background and context on this massive project. Excerpt: