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Wanted: Your Ideas on How to Build a Digital Public Library of America

Think you know what the proposed Digital Public Library of America should look like? Now’s your chance to weigh in. The project’s steering committee has just announced a “Beta Sprint,” inviting the public to contribute “ideas, models, prototypes, technical tools, user interfaces, etc.” Anyone who wants to take part must submit a statement of interest by June 15, and final submissions are due September 1.

“We hope geeks and librarians, especially, will join forces to develop beta submissions in support of this initiative,” John Palfrey, the director of the steering committee, said in a statement. He is co-director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which has been coordinating DPLA planning. (It also runs a public wiki where people can contribute to the discussion.) Mr. Palfrey explains more about the beta sprint and how it will fit into the broader planning process in this video, also posted today.

Another steering-committee member, Doron Weber, said the beta sprint “will help us kick off an 18-month program to construct, brick by digital brick, this beautiful new edifice.” Mr. Weber is vice president for programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, one of the institutions participating in the planning process. Other members of the steering committee include representatives from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Internet Archive, and large public-library systems as well as major academic libraries.

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