Launched yesterday, the Digital Public Library of America’s portal offers browsing and search access to a still growing aggregation of cultural heritage records from dozens of US cultural heritage institutions. At the same time, DPLA began offering programmatic access to its metadata stores, urging developers to create their own interfaces and access points to the collections. First impressions have been almost uniformly positive, though many have suggested avenues for further enhancements and refinements.
Credo Reference is integrating text-to-speech technology from ReadSpeaker into its Literati full-text reference line of offerings. The text-to-speech functionality is already available for Literati Public and will soon be added to Literati Academic, Literati School, and Literati Student Athlete. The latter two products were launched earlier this year. The move comes as several library organizations are embarking on more focused efforts to address the need for accessibility with digital content.
In this article, the fourth installment in a series on the initiative to build a Digital Public Library of America, I examine the underlying role of law in the ebook lending debate, explore potential solutions to the problems, and consider how the DPLA can contribute to solutions for those we serve. At the core of this issue is the way the copyright law works–or doesn’t–when it comes to books, libraries, and readers in the United States today and into the future.
Gale Cengage today announced a licensing agreement with the Smithsonian Institution to distribute Smithsonian assets into the library and academic space. Though it originally grew out of a public RFP issued by the Smithsonian to digitize its Smithsonian Magazine and Air and Space magazine resources, it has grown into something much more ambitious in scope.
Digital information industry veteran Jeff Moyer last month launched Reveal Digital, a company that aims to use a lean, efficient funding model to digitize special collections and then make those collections open access. Reveal will treat digitization “as a service to libraries rather than a more traditional publishing or product approach,” he said.
One of the concerns expressed about the planning initiative to create a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is that its very existence might threaten public libraries. While I credit this fear—no outcome to this initiative could be worse—the DPLA is designed to do precisely the opposite: to establish a platform and resources that will help libraries and other cultural heritage institutions, both public and private, to succeed in a digital era.
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Europeana today announced the official launch of Leaving Europe: A new life in America, a jointly curated virtual exhibition that tells the story of European emigration to the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition includes digitized photographs, manuscripts, broadsheets, paintings, letters, audio, government documents, and other materials from U.S. and European libraries, museums, and archives, curated to describe the experiences faced by different groups emigrating from Europe to the United States.
The eMOP project led by Texas A&M will use page images from ProQuest’s Early English Books Online and Early European Books, Gale Cengage’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online, and other sources to create a database of early typefaces used in English books and documents, and then train optical character recognition (OCR) software to read these documents.
The Scottsdale Public Library (SPL) recently went live with the Papago Salado Story Tour Collection, a digitized project that features historic photos of several of their city’s most notable buildings, accompanied by audio files of locals telling stories about those buildings. The collection got its start last year, when Arizona’s Papago Salado Association received a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council to record memories of historical buildings.
Frank Menchaca, executive vice president of publishing for Gale Cengage Learning, discusses digitization projects and the company’s new college courses for public libraries as part of a series of Q&As leading up to “The Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks and Beyond,” LJ’s third annual ebook summit on Wednesday, October 17.