PBS’s Lucy Bernholz on the Digital Public Library of America

PBS commentator and philanthropy blogger Lucy Bernholz writes a largely positive column at PBS, although she also notes the current limitations of the DPLA. Some of her main points bear noting here:

  •  Ownership and Intellectual property: “Instead of a stand-alone collection, it is the set of common software codes and processes that connect existing collections and adapts for future ones.” (Her discussion of “ownership” which I omit, is worth seeing.)
  • Permanence: “We can’t predict where technology will take us, so the DPLA has built itself to adapt from within while also aligning with those who can push it along.” 
  • Access: “The DPLA has tried from the beginning to be inclusive and welcoming in designing its software, its governance structures, and its future scope of work — open meeting policies, bylaws, and draft articles of incorporation are all on the site. I’m not an expert in the design of digital materials for the visually impaired, but the FAQ offers detailed information on how the site is set up to reach these users.” (I had missed the DPLA’s commitment to visually impaired users, but I say Bravo! It’s about time that our cultural institutions encouraged software developers to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It’s also hard to disagree with her conclusion: “The DPLA is an experiment worth watching as it navigates these new waters and celebrating as it unfolds. When the time comes for the actual party, I’ll be there.” But read the original. She’s a good writer.

The DPLA is an experiment worth watching as it navigates these new waters and celebrating as it unfolds. When the time comes for the actual party, I’ll be there. – See more at: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/05/digital-public-library-dpla-raises-questions-ownership-permanence-access#sthash.gFtLLbNU.dpuf
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Published by Paul Romaine

Paul Romaine is a grant writer and independent curator in New York City.

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