The lofty effort, the Digital Public Library of America, counts a long list of heavyweights among its supporters, including librarians from major universities and officials from the National Archives and the Library of Congress. Some of the nation’s largest philanthropic foundations have said they were interested in financing the project, though its total cost has not been determined.
The various backers of the library, and a number of interested parties, met in October at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which is coordinating the project. Representatives from technology companies like Google and Apple attended.
“We don’t have a central funding source and a central authority,” said Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for library services at the Library of Congress, another member of the steering committee. “We have many different kinds of institutions and many different funding streams.”
Google has vowed to support orphan works legislation. Digital public library backers hope it will help their efforts further, by lending some of its digital archives.
Google appeared cagey about that possibility. “We will continue to stay engaged and try to be supportive,” said Daniel Clancy, engineering director at Google.
The digital public library’s steering committee hopes to have a working prototype in 18 months. “This is a widely ambitious enterprise and it may well fail,” said John Palfrey, a professor at the Harvard Law School who is chairman of the committee. “But it is worth the effort.”
"Ruling Spurs Effort to Form Digital Public Library"
Filed by April 4, 2011on