The Digital Public Library of America launched yesterday. It is just what the name implies and more. In the end it will provide free public access to digitalized library resources across the nation and ultimately, the world. What a wonderful collaboration of knowledge. I can’t think of a more democratic use of technology. I found the following quote in a Historical Blog I follow “The Junto.”

In a famous letter of 1813, Thomas Jefferson compared the spread of ideas to the way people light one candle from another: “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lites his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”

Imagine walking through a museum or historical site and being able to use an app on your smart phone to access the portal and pull up supporting details about what you are looking at as you progress on your tour.  Or walking Gettysburg and pulling up pictures and descriptions that enhance the experience.

And this is just the beginning like when email first started. I remember marveling at the ability to attach files and send them to others, it changed my business protocols overnight



8 Responses

  1. A great post pt. Last week I happened to overhear a conversation between three people in Publix that I guess were in their 70’s. It was one guy by himself talking to a couple, and he said something about seeing something on Facebook. The woman of the couple said, “Oh we don’t do Facebook”. Which is perfectly okay, but he answered, Oh I do. I don’t post anything, but I look at it every day anyway. Also I have an iPhone and an iPad. If I see something I want, I get it. I wanted to rush over and say Good for you! It’s bad when people dismiss technology because they don’t understand it, then try to act superior about it. It’s entirely different if you do make an effort to understand it, and make a conscious decision that you don’t want to be that connected. I’ve done that with Twitter. I am not going there. But this DPLA is very good news. .

  2. DPLA is not a guaranteed success but it is a good beginning. What excites me is that an end goal is to consolidate knowledge into one portal free for everyone. Which as Jefferson opined, allows us to pass light on to everyone.

    Just heard a familiar quote this morning from a 90 year old man just learning to read, ” learn now,, ya ain;t gonna learn it in that ole pine box.”

    As for face book and twitter, I think they are good tools to share knowledge as long as used appropriately, they are tools but not the end all do all of communication. i.e. some media guys tend to jump at twitter “rumors” (think Boston Bombers) and publish them as facts which just distorts the hell out of reporting. And some folks define their own “value”by the number of followers they attract rather than the validity of what they say.

  3. Amen to everything, especially that last paragraph. Cool story about the 90 year old!

  4. Hmmm…I wonder if that is why I got an e-mail at work Friday from the State Library saying that I can sign up for electronic access to all sorts of goodies. I’m sure anyone can do it.


  5. You sure you aren’t giving away “State” secrets sc? Lol.

  6. Hmmm…I wonder if that is why I got an e-mail at work Friday from the State Library saying that I can sign up for electronic access to all sorts of goodies. I’m sure anyone can do it.

    sc apparently any State employee can register on line. Citizens must do it in person at the Grey Building in Tallahassee. While I often in Tally I will not be in a rush to register.

  7. Two comments. If you have a Kindle (or other e-reader), you can already access books free from the library. Amazon also has a program whereby you can share books. The kicker here is that to do these things, you must be able to use a computer. You can’t disdain it, as a substitute for not understanding it and not wanting to bother to do so. I personally mourn the impending death of newspapers, but…
    Comment #2: I thought of you this week and your renewed interest in American history. Amazon sent me an email (one of those “you might be interested in…”) emails about the book Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. The book has been out since 2003. It’s a biography by Walter Isaacson, who wrote the biography of Steve Jobs that I just read. It actually sounds great.

  8. FN Thanks for the tips. I have the Franklin Book, it was ok, I may revisit it now that I am into the discovery mode.

    I do read a ton of stuff electronically, and I wouldn’t bury newspapers just yet, there is still a need for investigative reporting……..some would argue more than ever.

    As for ebooks on note pads or Kindle, it’s not for me. I collect books and stamps because they are real and are a part of history themselves. I have nothing against ebooks I just prefer what I have loved since I learned how to read. To me reading a book is the most personal and enjoyable experience one can have after human relationships. So I place high value on their textual aura.

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