Articles by Jorge A. Martinez

  • Article

    Now live: the first Digital Public Library of America

    April 18, 2013 by Jorge A. Martinez

    Now live: the first Digital Public Library of America

    Photo credit: The Digital Public Library of America on Flickr

    An exciting new initiative began today when the Digital Public Library of America launched its first six service and content hubs. The hubs promise to unleash millions of historical, scientific and cultural documents from many of America’s national and state institutions, making them easily searchable as digital records to anyone with an Internet connection.

    The Digital Public Library of America's common platform also provides an open programming interface and metadata structure that will allow for free and innovative use of these materials by educators, researchers, programmers and the public. Taking part in the launch as the first service hubs are state and regional libraries in Massachusetts, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Minnesota and the Mountain West region.

    Driven by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Knight has supported the project since 2011 as part of its library initiative that aims to reimagine libraries as centers for community engagement and digital access. For us, the goal of Digital Public Library of America aligns with Knight’s strong belief that informed communities are able to best determine their own interests. And we are thrilled to be part of a project that furthers this strong vision of engagement.

    Over the past month, a blog series on the Digital Public Library of America has captured much of the buzz and excitement surrounding the launch. It has also given us a taste of the rich history that will be unveiled— from archives at Harvard and the Smithsonian, to collections on Cold War missile development in the Mountain West, raw news footage of the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia and South Carolina’s accounts of the battle of Fort Sumter.

  • Article

    Making local history digital, searchable and accessible

    October 12, 2012 by Jorge A. Martinez

    Making local history digital, searchable and accessible


    Photo Credit: Flickr user exostratics

    Today, Knight Foundation is excited to announce $1 million in support for the Digital Public Library of America, a groundbreaking project that will make our country’s local archives digital, searchable and freely accessible.

    This project is working towards the day that users will be able to search any topic – be it the Civil War or the New Deal – and immediately pull up information including pictures, videos, oral histories, manuscripts and more from collections across the country.

    They're starting with seven pilot sites – with libraries and digital collaborative in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah participating as “service” hubs.

    What most excites me though is that the project is going to involve communities in creating content for their archives, whether through giving context to or tagging content, or actually bringing in items to scan and record. It’s a great way to help accelerate libraries’ evolution from information warehouses to true digital community centers and content creators, a key focus of Knight Foundation’s Library Initiative.

    Organizers launched this project because they began to see a paradox emerge: In this era when people expect information at their fingertips, our local collections that are so rich in history and cultural heritage are increasingly inaccessible because of budget cuts and staff reductions.