A National Public Library, Now Available Online

The Digital Public Library of America launched last week with an ambitious goal: To provide online access to content from as many libraries' archives as possible for free.

What's the Latest Development?

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) launched its Web site last week, more than two years after the first planning meeting in which, according to a statement on the site, participants agreed to create "an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage...in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future generations." Visitors can access more than two million items from a wide range of institutions, including Harvard University and public libraries in Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston. Developers can also add to the archive by using a freely available API.

What's the Big Idea?

The library is by no means complete, and there are still multiple hurdles to clear in order to create a truly inclusive and useful archive, which means the project "[is] going to be a multi-decade effort," says DPLA executive director Dan Cohen. For example, only seven out of 42 state and regional libraries with fully- or partially-digitized archives are represented on the site; Cohen is working to get the other 35 on board. Also needed will be the cooperation of publishers who own current copyrights. So far, though, the DPLA seems to be off to a good start, with favorable reviews from both users and developers.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Ars Technica

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Love in a time of migrants: on rethinking arranged marriages

Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.

Culture & Religion

In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.

Keep reading Show less