It launched about an hour ago.
Jonathan Wilson tells us more. Here is a taste of his post at The Junto:
At noon Eastern today, the Digital Public Library of America will launch a beta version of its “discovery portal,” allowing visitors to search through materials at a wide array of participating institutions.
This is the product of more than two years of work, managed by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society but involving representatives from dozens of other scholarly organizations (and funded by the Sloan Foundation, the Arcadia Fund, the NEH, the Mellon Foundation, and the Soros Foundation).
The DPLA relies on other organizations for more than support; for the time being, at least, it supports their digitization projects more than the other way around. The DPLA is not a factory or storehouse for scanned books and images, but a guide to collections maintained elsewhere. And the disgraceful snarl of American copyright law still impedes efforts to make even classic works produced by long-dead authors available freely to the public. Furthermore, libraries and publishers have reason to be concerned about their survival prospects in this age of ephemeral text. So the future of the DPLA as a public alternative to private control of the cultural commons is uncertain.
When I get some time I will poke around at the DPLA and perhaps do a post or two about it. I think this is going to be an incredible resource.