U.Va.’s Vaidhyanathan Named to Board of Digital Public Library of America

The newly launched Digital Public Library of America has appointed University of Virginia professor Siva Vaidhyanathan to its nine-member board of directors. In what is basically a public, noncommercial version of the Google book project, the DPLA links together collections from libraries and museums across the country, making them all available for free to anyone with an Internet connection – something Vaidhyanathan advocated in his 2011 book, “The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry).”

The U.Va. Library joined the DPLA earlier this month, and initially will contribute the Holsinger Studio Collection, a photographic record of life in Charlottesville and Albemarle County from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that consists of more than 10,400 images.

“Libraries are temples to the republic,” said Vaidhyanathan, Robertson Professor in Media Studies and chair of the Department of Media Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences, who also teaches in the School of Law. “They are where citizens seek guidance and connection with each other. The Digital Public Library of America has the potential to connect citizens all over the world to each other and to the best sources of knowledge through their public and school libraries. I can’t think of an organization I would be more proud to serve.”

In a press release, fellow board member Jamie Hollier, president of Anneal Inc. predicted, “The Digital Public Library of America is creating a platform that will forever change the landscape of access to our nation’s culture, history and knowledge.”

The Boston-based Digital Public Library of America’s site dp.la opened today with more than 2 million digital objects, including digitized photos, books, manuscripts and other items from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the New York Public Library, and major university libraries along with museums, libraries and historical institutions around the country.

The board of directors includes Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons; Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian at Harvard University; and Amy E. Ryan, president of the Boston Public Library.

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