National Archives To Donate 1.2 Million Digital Objects to Digital Public Library of America

National Archives

Last week we did a post on Dan Cohen‘s move from the Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), where he will serve as Executive Director.

Yesterday it was announced that the National Archives will donate 1.2 million digital objects–from founding documents to World War II Posters–to the DPLA’s first project at the Boston Public Library.  Here is a taste of the press release:

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that the National Archives, as a leading content provider to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), will help launch its first pilot project.

The DPLA is a large-scale, collaborative project across government, research institutions, museums, libraries and archives to build a digital library platform to make America’s cultural and scientific history free and publicly available anytime, anywhere, online through a single access point. 

The DPLA is working with several large digital content providers – including the National Archives and Harvard University – to share digitized content from their online catalogs for the project’s two-year Digital Hubs Pilot Project.  This pilot project is scheduled to launch on April 18-19, 2013 at the Boston Public Library, which will host an array of festivities, including presentations and interactive exhibits showcasing content from the DPLA’s content partners.  The DPLA will include 1.2 million digital copies from the National Archives catalog, including our nation’s founding documents, photos from the Documerica Photography Project of the 1970’s, World War II posters, Mathew Brady Civil War photographs, and documents that define our human and civil rights. 

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said: “I am proud of the work done collaboratively by the National Archives and participating institutions to make the vision of the Digital Public Library of America a reality. The ability to seamlessly search across the collections of major cultural, historical, and research institutions improves democracy through education, and furthers the principles of Open Government.” 

“One of the distinctive features of the DPLA is that it has developed as a true public-private partnership,” said John Palfrey, chair of the DPLA Board of Directors.  “The active and engaged support of the Archivist of the United States and the National Archives as an institution has been a crucial building block in a truly national platform for libraries and digital materials.  We are deeply fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Mr. Ferriero and his team and excited about this announcement today.” 

The Digital Public Library of America is taking the first concrete steps toward the realization of a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all. This impact-oriented research effort unites the leaders from all types of libraries, museums, and archives with educators, industry, and government to define the vision for a digital library in service of the American public.  More information is online at