The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and FamilySearch.org have partnered to expand access to the FamilySearch digitized historical books online. FamilySearch.org has been digitizing books in conjunction with several other libraries, including the Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, for many years. The FamilySearch.org collections currently stands at 282,444 books as of the date of this post. The DPLA is a free website.
The DPLA has currently 13,290,365 items in its online collections from around the United States. Quoting from its website:
The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used, through its three main elements:
A portal that delivers students, teachers, scholars, and the public to incredible resources, wherever they may be in America.
Far more than a search engine, the portal provides innovative ways to search and scan through the united collection of millions of items, including by timeline, map, virtual bookshelf, format, subject, and partner.
A platform that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage.
With an application programming interface (API) and maximally open data, DPLA can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and engaging apps.
An advocate for a strong public option in the twenty-first century.
For most of American history, the ability to access materials for free through public libraries has been a central part of our culture, producing generations of avid readers and a knowledgeable, engaged citizenry. DPLA works, along with like-minded organizations and individuals, to ensure that this critical, open intellectual landscape remains vibrant and broad in the face of increasingly restrictive digital options. DPLA seeks to multiply openly accessible materials to strengthen the public option that libraries represent in their communities.I have been following the growth of the DPLA since its inception and I am an active supporter of its goals and objectives. Here is a video about the DPLA.
Here is some additional quotes from the explanation of the agreement between FamilySearch.org and the DPLA:
In concert with the American Library Association national conference in Orlando, Florida, this week, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and FamilySearch International, the largest genealogy organization in the world, have signed an agreement that will expand access to FamilySearch.org’s growing free digital historical book collection to DPLA’s broad audience of users including genealogists, researchers, family historians, students, and more.
Family history/genealogy continues to be a popular and growing hobby. And FamilySearch is a leader in the use of technology to digitally preserve the world’s historic records and books of genealogical relevance for easy search and access online. With this new partnership, DPLA will incorporate metadata from FamilySearch.org’s online digital book collection that will make more than 200,000 family history books discoverable through DPLA’s search portal later this year. From DPLA, users will be able to access the free, fully viewable digital books on FamilySearch.org.I suspect that few genealogists are aware of the digital books on the FamilySearch.org website and I further suspect that even fewer of them are aware of the Digital Public Library of America.
The digitized historical book collection at FamilySearch.org includes genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees. Tens of thousands of new publications are added yearly.