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Commons:Digital Public Library of America


The Digital Public Library of America is a national digital public library providing open access to digitized and born digital content from a variety of providers. As of April 2013 content providers include the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives and Records Administration, ARTstor, the New York Public Library, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, University of Virginia, and others. Regional content hubs include digital libraries from Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, South Carolina, Oregon and the Mountain West.

The DPLA provides metadata and media content of all types from its providers and hubs, as well as tools for download. The DPLA also serves as a community platform for its users.


The launch of the DPLA (April, 2013) is a rare opportunity for Wikipedia and the sister projects, as it allows Wikipedians to collaborate with a major open source, online library as it is being deployed.

As all of the media content held by the DPLA partners and hubs is freely available for use, and is in the public domain, Wikimedia Commons will benefit from metadata and other content downloads.

Wikipedians began to understand the benefits of being early-users of the DPLA and plan to download files from the DPLA to Commons. The benefits include:

  • The DPLA has an early high-profile customer,
  • The institutional contributor of the downloaded files gets early high-profile use,
  • Wikipedians are alerted to the broad resources of the DPLA, and the future of metadata aggregation and presentation.

Metadata aggregators like the DPLA will change the landscape for Wikimedia Commons, as bot operators and editors may no longer need direct participation from data hosts. The open source, free data will make it possible for bot operators and others to access the digital files on a direct, as needed basis. One anticipated result will be an significant increase in PD files available for use in articles and elsewhere.

DPLA Service HubsEdit

Service Hubs are institutions with aggregated digital assets. Hubs may be a group of libraries, archives, museums, or other cultural heritage institutions. These have known PD/CC images in the DPLA, and may be good candidates for upload into Commons. (Collections with unspecified rights need to be contacted.) The numbers will change, as new records are ingested into the DPLA on a regular basis.


  • 9,918 results
  • table
  • In general, images on "OpenARTStor" free to use - individual collection donors have unique TOS. Certain collection may be on Commons already.


New York Public Library

  • 13,484 results
  • table
  • Terms of use confusing: free from copyright on DPLA site, paywall etc on NYPL site

University of Virginia Library

Digital Commonwealth

  • Lowell Cultural Resources Inventory 960
  • Soldier's Record, Town of Chicopee 396
  • Chicopee Weekly Journal 141

Part of NOBLE [1]:

  • Beverly Postcard Collection 376
  • Wakefield Municipal Gas 360
  • Murphy Postcard Collection 357
  • Beverly Picture Collection 307
  • Lynn Historic Images : Buildings 291
  • Current Images of Wakefield 291
  • Wakefield Postcards 288
  • Reading Historical Images 389
  • Old Photographs of Wakefield 266
  • Lynn Historic Images: Streets 255
  • Gloucester Postcard Collection 249
  • Swampscott Buildings 168
  • Swampscott Through the Years: A pictorial history 120

State Library of MASS - gov docs - copyright unclear, TBD

  • Executive Orders 644
  • Highway Department Photographs 379
  • Railroad Commission Maps 279
  • Land and Harbor Commissioner Maps 202
  • Hoosac Tunnel Photographs 113

Minnesota Digital Library: PD:

  • Iron Range Research Center 86
  • Minnesota Geological Survey 655
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation 468
  • Minnesota Legislative Reference Library 3327


Related categoriesEdit

Coordination and Time LineEdit