The most useful website you haven't heard of is about to launch

Well, perhaps you may have heard something about this project, but it hasn't exactly made mainstream news. However, the Digital Public Library of America is gearing up for its big launch day and the organization has lofty goals. The project has been in the works since 2010, when it was conceived by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

The primary objective is to bring together the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums all in one online location. Several state libraries, including most recently South Carolina, have pledged to add their historical collections to the archive. There has also been a pledge of more than 10,000 digital images from museums.

While the DPLA site is already online, the official launch date has been set for April 18th. According to Robert Darnton of the New York Review of Books, "Thanks to the Internet and a pervasive if imperfect system of education, we now can realize the dream of Jefferson and Franklin. We have the technological and economic resources to make all the collections of all our libraries accessible to all our fellow citizens -- and to everyone everywhere with access to the World Wide Web".

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have helped to finance the project, but so far it has been unable to bring the Library of Congress on board. The service will be free to use when it launches later this month and should provide a wealth of information for students and those who are simply curious.

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