The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will be up and running by April 2013, according to one of the key figures behind the project. Professor Robert Darnton of Harvard told a gathering at Columbia Law School this week that the project, initially launched a year and a half ago, is now for an initial holding of at least 2m books.
The DPLA is funded by the Sloan Foundation and the Arcadia Fund to the tune of $5m ($2.5m apiece), to cover the work needed to get the project up and running. As well as the technical infrastructure needed to get the library online, the funding also helps to support the steering committee that currently decides its direction.
According to Darnton, the DPLA aims to learn the lessons from Google’s failed attempt to launch a similar program. The DPLA is currently dealing with the tricky issue of copyright, which is one of the major barriers to any such library. And Darnton suggested that criticisms that the DPLA is too utopian to succeed are wide of the mark, claiming that a spirit of utopianism might actually be of benefit to the project.