When the Digital Public Library of America launched last week, it brought millions of pieces of content from major universities, museums, and library collections together for public perusal. But what about the historically vital content that currently languishes in back rooms of small, regional libraries or historic societies? One such growing collection that was incorporated into the DPLA came from the University of Georgia’s massive archives, which chronicle the history of the state.
According to Jean Cleveland of AthensPatch.com, these pieces of history are now available to DPLA users and feature some historic insights. Included in the collection were more than five million photographs from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s archives, including photos dating back to when the two newspapers were separate, along with photos from smaller local newspapers that were absorbed by the JC. Also included is a 1734 drawing of Savannah, the first city established in Georgia. Historically notable movie clips are also included, such as a 1919 clip of African-American employees playing a game of baseball, and the interview of Marion King in the hospital following her beating by police while pregnant for visiting protesters in jail.
What made the incorporation of Georgia’s content feasible was the forward-thinking nature of library collections in the state. Patrons and researchers in Georgia have already enjoyed the use of its own state digital library, GALILEO, and the state’s digital library was selected as one of seven hubs around the country from which to support the DPLA.
“We are so pleased to contribute to this national effort and to make more of the record of Georgia’s history and culture available online,” said Toby Graham, UGA’s deputy university librarian and director of the Digital Library of Georgia, to AthensPatch.
To date, more than sixty different state collections have contributed digital content to the DPLA, which aims to bring local archives to the public across the country for free and searchable access.
“The launch of the Digital Public Library of America is particularly significant for communities—it provides them with the technology and resources to see their local history preserved and use it to build a fresh perspective that will eventually shape their futures,” said Jorge Martinez, vice president and chief technology officer at the Knight Foundation, to Cleveland. “It is also an opportunity to spur greater community engagement and make a body of rich local heritage accessible to the entire world.”
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation donated one million dollars to the DPLA in order to fund the regional hubs that will support the digitization of archived content.