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DPLA launches today

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The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) launches at noon EST today. However, the planned celebrations to mark the event are being postponed until later in the year because of the bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon earlier this week.

Executive director Dan Cohen said in a blog post on Tuesday: ‘From all of us at the Digital Public Library of America, our hearts go out to those affected by the terrible events in Boston yesterday.

‘The tragedy took place right in front of the Boston Public Library, where we planned to have our gala launch on Thursday. Unfortunately, I no longer think it is possible to hold those events this week. The area around the BPL has been closed off, perhaps for several days, and it is not easy to relocate such a large-scale meeting. But logistics are the least of my concerns. People need time to mourn and to get resettled.’

The DPLA says that it will ‘incorporate all media types and formats including the written record – books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts, and digital texts – and expanding into visual and audiovisual materials in concert with existing repositories.’

The organisation goes on to say: ‘In order to lay a solid foundation for its collections, the DPLA will begin with works in the public domain that have already been digitised and are accessible through other initiatives. Further material will be added incrementally to this basic foundation, starting with orphan works and materials that are in copyright but out-of-print.’

The DPLA has also been working with Europeana since December 2011. According to a post on Europeana’s blog: ‘Since then, the DPLA has worked closely with Europeana, adopting the Europeana Data Model, sharing metadata expertise, inspiration and lessons learned, and working to make the two digital datasets interoperable.’

In December 2012 the two organisations launched a joint virtual exhibition, 'Leaving Europe: A new life in America'. The exhibition uses photographs, manuscripts, broadsheets, paintings, letters, audio, government documents and other unique materials to chart people's journeys across the European continent and their settlement in the United States.

The digital items displayed are from US and European libraries, museums and archives and the accompanying narrative has been commissioned specially for the exhibition from US and European experts.