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[dpla] DPLA plenary

I’m at what is in effect the public launch of the Digital Public Library of America — “in effect” because the DPLA has been open to all from the beginning. But today we’re in the theater of the National ARchives and have just been greeted by the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero.

I spent yesterday at the “workstream” meetings of the DPLA. The openness of the DPLA has meant that there has been no moment at which all have agreed on precisely what the DPLA should be. Yesterday could have been a day that had people walking apart from one another or walking toward a center as yet to be fully located. It was a day of walking toward that emergent center. Given the continuing significant differences in the group, my sense that the convergence was enabled by a shared sense of the value of what we could build, by shared interests and backgrounds (a bunch of librarians and admirers of librarians), and by the carefully crafting of the day’s events and processes. (That last goes to the credit of the Berkman Center.)

I am very excited. (I’m also at maximum stress because I am giving a 8.5 minute demo this afternoon…talking to a screencast I did in my hotel room last night, leaving no room for temporal variance. You can see the live prototype here.)

Doron Weber of the Sloane Foundation is now briefly recounting the history of the DPLA, which started with a workshop a year ago. Doron today announced the beginning of a “two year grass roots effort” to build the DPLA. The DPLA is intended to be a platform for discovering our rich shared cultural heritage he says (approximately). He sketches a very broad agenda, including discovering collections, building them, partnering with other nations, sharing metadata, and exploring doing some form of collective licensing of in-copyright material. (Excellent. I personally don’t want this to become the Digital Public Library of Jane Austen.)

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Doron announces that Sloane and Arcadia are each contributing $2.5M to support the DPLA over the next 18 months. Woohoo! Peter Baldwin from Arcadia gives a gracious short talk.

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