May 24, 2022

Harvard Crimson: "Harvard Leads Digital Library Initiative"

From the Harvard Crimson:

Guided by a Steering Committee at the Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the project remains in its initial planning phase. But in the wake of a New York District Court’s ruling last month against the Google Books Library Project, citing concerns of monopoly power, the spotlight has fallen on the DPLA, which will allow free access to the volumes.

There is a “need to pivot very quickly from the discussion phase to the implementation phase,” said Harvard Law Professor John G. Palfrey ’94, a co-director of the Berkman Center and a leader in the DPLA project.

The DPLA will be the product of a collaboration between the largest library systems in the nation, already including Harvard, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution.


Paul N. Courant, a member of the steering committee and a professor at the University of Michigan, said that he thought “success over some period is almost inevitable.”


“There is a sense that we ought to do things relatively quickly,” Courant said. “I think we should make substantial progress by this calendar year.”

Once the proposal goes into implementation phase, the Steering Committee must scan a large number of printed materials, negotiate with various publishers on copyright protected materials, and deal with a multi-million dollar annual operating budget.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.