Friday, March 18, 2016

Website of the Week

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) 

“What is DPLA? The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an all-digital library that aggregates metadata — or information describing an item — and thumbnails for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. DPLA brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.”

If you take a few minutes to explore the DPLA I’m sure you will agree that the digital archives collected here are massive. There are various ways to search and browse over 11 million digital items.

On the home page you can do a basic search and when you get your results you can sort and refine them. An advanced search does not appear to be available at this time. The site has a few interesting ways to browse items. There are a number of exhibitions that can be viewed such as the “Golden Age of Radio in the US” and “Urban Parks in the United States.” An interactive map feature, a timeline with items dating back to 1045 B.C., and a virtual bookshelf are other innovative ways of browsing content. In addition, at the bottom of the page there is a tab for browsing by subject area. There are 17 pages which can be sorted by Number of Results or alphabetically by subject.

The DPLA offers developers a way to get involved by using something they call open API. It allows developers to come up with new ways to access content by creating Apps. This is beyond my technical knowledge but for those interested more information is available here

The DPLA has so much content there is truly something for everyone. Students and Faculty will find it particularly useful. History buffs beware; you may lose yourself once you start exploring. With creative ways to search and browse, and a massive digital collection the DPLA is a very interesting resource.

Review by Nate Martin, SWC Librarian

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