May 17, 2022

DPLA (Digital Public Library of America) Posts RFP For Front-End Portal Design and Development

The RFP was released today giving those who are interested in submitting a prototype just under two weeks to get their proposal to DPLA. Doesn’t that seem like a rather short amount of time especially since this is a popular time of the year for vacations?

UPDATE: DPLA responds to our comment. See bottom of this post for what they had to say.

Direct to RFP (Full Text, 7 pages; PDF)

From Blog Post:

The DPLA seeks a skilled interactive agency to design and develop a website to facilitate the creative discovery, sharing, and use of multimedia library materials among the general public. This prototype website will serve as a gesture toward the possibilities for a future, fully built out DPLA.

The DPLA front end website will serve as a creative, interactive platform for the general public to discover, share, and use books, photographs, audio and video recordings, and cultural heritage objects online. The most important function is the display and consumption of digital library content and metadata.

What DLPA Wants to See (From RFP)

  • Build upon the back end platform currently under development
  • Delight users and gesture toward the possibilities of a highly interactive, fully built out national digital library
  • Feature intuitive user experience design
  • Make sensible use of latest web technology and tools

Minimum Functionality Requirements

  • Browse the DPLA by collection
  • Browse the DPLA by thematic area
  • Perform a faceted search of the DPLA
  • View details of an item within the DPLA
  • Facilitate discovery of related content throughout the DPLA, especially across collections

Social Feature Requirements

  • Create personalized collections that can be commented on and shared with others
  • Comment on, rate, tag, and share individual items and collections with others
  • “Follow” collections, items, creators, and users, receiving notifications when there are changes

Features DPLA Would Like to See

  • Geo-location to deliver local content on homepage, tied with ranking algorithm
  • User account that stores personal data that can influence localization
  • Users can make curated collections for public access
  • Widgets that can be implemented in other library websites
  • Ability to customize front page (personal curation)—coloring, layout, font, sharing options, various modules/widgets
  • Full text preview

Submission Info

Proposals should be submitted electronically by 11:59 PM ET on Monday, August 20, 2012 to Rebekah Heacock (dpla at Questions can be directed via email to Rebekah Heacock.

Follow-up conversations with prospective teams will take place from August 21-26; we plan to announce our decision on August 27 in order to begin work by September 4, 2012.

Direct to RFP (Full Text, 7 pages; PDF)

UPDATE: Comment from DPLA re: Release of RFP

We announced via the DPLA listservs that an RFP would be forthcoming in mid-July, and notified the community at that point that the deadline would be mid-August. We’ve been workshopping the proposal with our technical advisory board and the Technical Aspects Workstream over the summer, and have simultaneously been in early conversations with a number of designers and developers who have expressed interest in response to our earlier announcement. We look forward to working with these designers as they submit their proposals to identify the best possible match for the DPLA.

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.