Yesterday, 18 April 2013, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) went online. What I would say is that finally the United States is catching up with Europe and Australia in providing a portal for their major digital collections. In some ways, I feel that Americans are very insular. Two of the largest digital portals in the world are Europe's Europeana and Australia's Trove. Both of these sites are largely and almost completely unknown in the United States. Will the Digital Public Library of America suffer the same fate?
For those of you who do not have Europeana and Trove on your list of favorite websites, perhaps this is due to lack of knowledge of these resources. For example, Trove.nla.gov.au has, today, 337,385,875 Australian and online resources: books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more. If you look around a bit, you will realize how really large this site is and how valuable it is, even if you don't live in Australia. What about Europeana.eu? Here is their description from the website:
Explore millions of items from a range of Europe's leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Books and manuscripts, photos and paintings, television and film, sculpture and crafts, diaries and maps, sheet music and recordings, they’re all here. No need to travel the continent, either physically or virtually!
Found something you like? Download it, print it, use it, save it, share it, play with it, love it
Europeana is the trusted source of cultural heritage brought to you by the Europeana Foundation and a large number of European cultural institutions, projects and partners. It’s a real piece of team work.
Ideas and inspiration can be found within the millions of items on Europeana. These objects include
Images - paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objectsSo where does the newly minted DPLA stand? Actually pretty good due to the partners putting their collections on the new site. The list and number of digitized items is impressive even at this early date. But does this huge collection have anything to offer genealogists? What do you want? Books? Manuscripts? Histories? Yes, they are all there gathered in with all the other resources. Will this online library continue to grow? Let's wait and see?
Texts - books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
Sounds - music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
Videos - films, newsreels and TV broadcasts