Am 18. April startet die Digital Library of America, ein Gegenprojekt zu Google Books, das von zahlreichen bekannten Gelehrten und der Harvard University unterstützt wird. Darunter Robert Darnton, der das Projekt in der New York Review of Books ausführlich vorstellt:
The DPLA will be a distributed system of electronic content that will make the holdings of public and research libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies available, effortlessly and free of charge, to readers located at every connecting point of the Web. To make it work, we must think big and begin small. At first, the DPLA’s offering will be limited to a rich variety of collections—books, manuscripts, and works of art—that have already been digitized in cultural institutions throughout the country. Around this core it will grow, gradually accumulating material of all kinds until it will function as a national digital library.
Robert Darnton würde sich als Kenner des 18. Jahrhunderts und der Aufklärung natürlich selbst untreu, stellte er dieses Unterfangen nicht in den entsprechenden Kontext:
For all its futuristic technology, the DPLA harkens back to the eighteenth century. What could be more utopian than a project to make the cultural heritage of humanity available to all humans? What could be more pragmatic than the designing of a system to link up millions of megabytes and deliver them to readers in the form of easily accessible texts?
Above all, the DPLA expresses an Enlightenment faith in the power of communication. Jefferson and Franklin—the champion of the Library of Congress and the printer turned philosopher-statesman—shared a profound belief that the health of the Republic depended on the free flow of ideas. They knew that the diffusion of ideas depended on the printing press. Yet the technology of printing had hardly changed since the time of Gutenberg, and it was not powerful enough to spread the word throughout a society with a low rate of literacy and a high degree of poverty.
Ein weiterer Artikel zum Thema: The Library of Utopia