Digital Public Library of America “Beta Sprint”

| June 7, 2011

Via the always-interesting Chronicle of Higher Education, I present to you the Digital Public Library of America’s “Beta Sprint” Program:

The Beta Sprint seeks, ideas, models, prototypes, technical tools, user interfaces, etc. – put forth as a written statement, a visual display, code, or a combination of forms – that demonstrate how the DPLA might index and provide access to a wide range of broadly distributed content. The Beta Sprint also encourages development of submissions that suggest alternative designs or that focus on particular parts of the system, rather than on the DPLA as a whole…

“The Beta Sprint is where the dream of a seamless and comprehensive digital library for every person begins to grapple, technically and creatively, with what has already been accomplished and what still need to be developed,” said Doron Weber, Vice President of Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a Steering Committee member. “The DPLA represents the broadest coalition of stakeholders ever assembled who are dedicated to free and universal access to knowledge for all, and the Beta Sprint will help us kick off an 18-month program to construct, brick by digital brick, this beautiful new edifice.”

So put your thinking caps on and get to work! –

Submission instructions and more information are available at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/dpla, where you can also watch a short video about the Beta Sprint. Statements of interest must be received by June 15, 2011. Final submissions will be due by September 1, 2011.

All of the information you need is right here. Don’t worry, you needn’t design the whole DPLA yourself. Note that:

The Beta Sprint seeks, ideas, models, prototypes, technical tools, user interfaces, etc.—put forth as a written statement, a visual display, code, or a combination of forms—that demonstrate how the DPLA might index and provide access to a wide range of broadly distributed content. The Beta Sprint also encourages development of betas that suggest alternative designs or that focus on particular parts of the system, rather than on the DPLA as a whole.

In reviewing these websites and writing this post, I tried to think of what contributions I would make to the Digital Public Library and I realized that designing such an institution is easier said than done! Just specifying that the library is to be digital and modern does very little to settle the details, which of course will end up making all the difference as to whether the project is successful or not. So, if you do have ideas, please consider submitting them. The DPLA needs you!