May 25, 2022

DPLA Adds Three New Services Hubs and Launches Super Cool Ebook Bookshelf

More DPLA News Here:  DPLA Awarded $1 Million Grant From Gates Foundation to Train Public Librarians

Here are two announcements from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) coming out of the DPLAfest underway in Boston.

Congrats to Dan Cohen and the DPLA team as well as to the team at the Harvard Library Innovation Lab.

 1. The three new service hubs joining DPLA are:

  • Empire State Digital Network (New York)

Empire State Digital Network is the first service hub to be created explicitly as a means for sharing New York’s rich digital cultural heritage with the DPLA. The Network will be administered by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) in collaboration with eight allied regional library councils collectively working as NY3Rs Association.

The Portal to Texas History consists of more than 300,000 digital items from over 250 partners.

The North Carolina service hub will be managed by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. The Center will aggregate metadata from  institutions across North Carolina — including public and private universities, state agencies, public libraries, and museums — to be shared with the DPLA.

Material from these three organizations will be added to DPLA in the near future.

What is a Service Hub?

The DPLA Service Hubs are state or regional digital libraries that aggregate information about digital objects from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions within their given state or region. Each Service Hub offers its state or regional partners a full menu of standardized digital services, including digitization, metadata, data aggregation and storage services, as well as locally hosted community outreach programs, bringing users in contact with digital content of local relevance.

Here’s a list of all DPLA Service Hubs

2. Super Cool! DPLA Launches E-Book Bookshelf Tool

Over 1 million books are available via the bookshelf.

Browsing and serendipity still have roles in resource discovery and this new tool is a real-world example of what’s being done to make browsing more relevant and useful in the digital world.

The DPLA Bookshelf was developed by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and based on the Stack Life* project that allows users to browse bib records of items found in the stacks of the Harvard Library.

DPLA Bookshelf lets the user scroll a visual representation of a bookshelf that provides all the instantaneous power the digital world provides.

When a user of the DPLA site searches for books, the results are displayed as books on a bookshelf; the shelf is shown as a vertical stack so that the titles and authors are more easily readable on their spines. The width of the book represents the actual height of the physical book, and its thickness represents its page count. The spine is colored with one of ten depths of blue to “heatmap” how relevant the work is to the reader’s search.

When a reader clicks on one of the books, additional information about it is displayed to its right. The reader can launch the e-book with the click of a button. Or, he or she can explore further by clicking on one of the subjects under which the book has been categorized. This replaces the existing shelf with a shelf containing all the other books in the DPLA collection categorized under that same subject.

Further, when a reader clicks on a book, the DPLA Bookshelf displays thumbnails of images within the DPLA collection related to that book’s subject areas. Clicking on a thumbnail displays the image and additional information about it.

Want to build your own version of this cool resource? The software is open source and available via GitHub (as is other DPLA code).

Direct to E-Book Bookshelf

See Also: Want to Learn More About Stack View/Stack Life? Check out the text and video on this page.

* See Also: Use (Stack View For Individuals) to Organize Your Own Material (Books, Web Sites, Etc.)
Free to use. Build your own virtual shelves. We’ve used on multiple occasions. It’s very easy to use.

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.