Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) anniversary

It’s been almost a year since the launch of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), and it has been a very good year. The DPLA is a fantastic resource, a portal to millions of items from libraries, museums, and archives around the country. Users can browse by timeline, map, or virtual bookshelf, and can also explore curated digital exhibitions in addition to searching for specific items.

What kinds of things might you find in the DPLA? I just used the timeline feature to search for things from a hundred years ago, 1914. The first result is a spectacular black-and-white photo of fire and ice in a Boston neighborhood; there’s also a photo of a lion at the Franklin Park Zoo, and one of a fire chief with his “pet horse”:



DPLA_pethorse_thumbnail300 datastream


But it’s not all pictures: there’s a Rand McNally map of “The Mexican Situation,” and an issue of Scouting, a publication of the Boy Scouts of America. There are also lots of newspapers and some telegraphs.

You can also browse by place (Massachusetts, for example) or do a specific search. A search for Arlington, MA returns 79 results, including lots of historical maps.

It’s also fun to browse the exhibitions, such as “Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History,” “Staking Claims: The Gold Rush in America,” or “Indomitable Spirits: Prohibition in the United States.”



In just a year, the DPLA has become a valuable resource for researchers of any age; I often recommend it, as well as the Library of Congress collections, the Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, and our own library databases, of course.

The DPLA is inviting and easy to use. What are you waiting for? Dive in and start exploring at the easy-to-remember

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