The Digital Public Library of America doesn’t exist yet, but it’s closer to becoming a reality.
At an energized meeting held here at the National Archives on Friday, representatives from top cultural institutions and public and research libraries expressed robust support for the proposed library, which would create a portal to allow the public to get easy online access to collections held at many different institutions.
Two foundations said they would together give $5-million in grant money to help get it up and running by April 2013. A major European digital library announced it will work with its planned American counterpart to make their technical structures compatible. And nine technology teams showcased online frameworks they built for a “beta sprint” contest to develop ideas for the technical framework the library will require.
But organizers and observers made it clear that there’s still a long way to go before the digital public library goes online, and that its final shapeâ€”and just how public it will really beâ€”remain up in the air.