National Digital Library


The UK movement for a national digital library is inspired by the ideas for such a project set out by Darnton of Harvard university. The US . He set out his ideas in 'Can We Create a National Digital Library?' By Robert Darnton. New York Review of Books October 28, 2010. In the article he says: 'Despite the complexities, the fundamental idea of a
National Digital Library (or NDL) is, at its core, straightforward. The NDL would make the cultural patrimony of this country freely available to all of its citizens. It would be the digital equivalent of the Library of Congress, but instead of being confined to Capitol Hill, it would exist everywhere, bringing millions of books and other digitized material within clicking distance of public libraries, high schools, junior colleges, universities, retirement communities, and any person with access to the Internet'

(US) National Digital Public Library

The National Digital Public Library Is Launched! By Robert Darnton. New York Review of Books. 25 (sic) April 2013
'The Digital Public Library of America, to be launched on April 18, is a project to make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans—and eventually to everyone in the world—online and free of charge. How is that possible?'

New Report: “America’s Digital Future: Advancing a Shared Strategy For Digital Public Libraries” By Gary Price. Infodocket (Library Journal). 19 July 2012
'This new report and plan for moving forward (60 pages; PDF) is an output of the “Creating a Blueprint for a National Digital Public Library” event held at the Los Angeles Public Library in November 2011. It was compiled an edited by Cathy De Rosa, Chrystie Hill, Andy Havens, Kendra Morgan and Ricky Erway at OCLC'.

Martín J. Gómez, (Former) General Manager and City Librarian Los Angeles Public Library and host of the event writes in the report:"To public librarians across the U.S., I challenge you to join me and our colleagues in visioning and creating our digital future, together. Public libraries in every community must develop a digital strategy and link that strategy to local, state, regional and national initiatives. We must participate in ongoing policy discussions. We must invest in new technologies and formats, and push our vending partners to work with us. Please lend the unique contributions of your library and your community to the emerging effort to create our national digital library. The communities that we serve are counting on us to make sure that unique, local digital content is widely accessible and that books, films, audio recordings and other forms of recorded knowledge remain accessible—even as they move to digital formats—to all

The full report: 'America’s Digital Future Advancing a shared strategy for digital public libraries'. OCLC July 2012

The Library of Utopia. By Nicholas Carr. Technology Review. May June 2012
'Google's ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts. Now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online. Will the Ivy League succeed where Silicon Valley failed?'

Digital Public Library of America: Pro and Con. Conference at Columbia brings together opposing players in the drive for a true digital public library. By Francine Fialkoff, LJ Editor-in-Chief. The Digital Shift. (Library Journal) 13 October 2011
From the article:
'They are miles apart in their thinking about digital books, but the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) president, Tom Allen, and Harvard University library director Robert Darnton came face to face to discuss the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) on October 11.
A prototype for the DPLA will be chosen in April 2012, with the aim of launching in April 2013'

For further information about the National Digital Library project in the US see the website 'LibraryCity. Toward a universal national digital library system with public governance'. This has a blog and links to useful resources.

A UK Approach

Sconul are actively engaged with the idea from a Higher Education perspective
'The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) has called on the Government to provide development funding for a national digital library to improve access to content for students and academics. The call was included in SCONUL's response to the HE White Paper: Students at the Heart of the System. Ann Rossiter, Executive Director of SCONUL, commented: "SCONUL has a radical vision for the future provision of content for university and college libraries and is calling for the creation of a national digital library.

Simon Barron advocated a similar approach for the UK in CILIP Update. He also connected with he US initiative. See the blog posting 'UK librarian’s National Digital Library efforts, March 26, 2011. Simon describes concept as in his blog: The National Digital Library - a personal quartet' By Simon Barron. Undaimonia Blog. 21 March 2011

'NDL as Total Library: The attraction of the National Digital Library concept is that we now have the technology to create what was previously only an ideal: the Total Library. The Total Library would be a record of all human knowledge: collecting every record of human thought and creativity; establishing the connections between books, articles, and miscellanea; providing every person with the same access to the universal pool of collective thought; a way to turn the Platonic realm of ideas into reality. The Library of Alexandria – though not total even by the standards of the time – has come to embody this ideal. Today our strongest physical contenders are the legal deposit libraries like the British Library or Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. '
Sconul are actively engaged with the idea http://www.sconul.ac.uk/news/he_whitepaper from a Higher Education perspective