The technical development of the Digital Public Library of America is being conducted in stages. The first stage involved the initial development of a back-end metadata platform. This platform consists of a set of services to gather metadata about content and collections made accessible through the DPLA, enabling developers to use this metadata to build new applications and integrate it into existing sites and services. The platform provides information and services openly and to all without restriction by way of open source code, as per the DPLA’s principles for technical development.
Tasked with the challenge of figuring out how exactly the platform would unfold was the interim Dev Core, a small group of people dedicated to developing the platform, in public and collaboratively. This team, composed of members of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and others, worked amazingly hard to get the system off to a great start, showing the possibilities of what the DPLA back-end can accomplish.
The next stage in the DPLA’s technical development involves integrating continued development of the back-end platform, complete with open APIs, as well as new work on a prototype front-end. This front-end will be a gesture toward the possibilities of a fully built-out DPLA, serving as but one interface for users to interact with the millions of records contained in the DPLA platform. Development of the back-end platform will continue in such a fashion as to enable the Beta Sprinters, and others who may come along, to develop additional user interfaces and means of using the data and metadata in the DPLA over time, which continues to be a key design principle for the project overall.
This next stage of technical development incorporates a network of contracted developers, front-end designers, a system architecture consultant, a small group of library tech experts providing ongoing advice on the technical development plan, and a local node that will pull everything together and keep the ball rolling. This local advisory board consists of:
- Paul Deschner, Harvard Library Innovation Lab
- Sebastian Diaz, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
- Reinhard Engels, Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication
- Rebekah Heacock, DPLA Secretariat/Berkman Center for Internet & Society
- Martin Kalfatovic, Technical Aspects Workstream/Smithsonian Institute Libraries
- Sam Klein, Technical Aspects Workstream/OLCP/Wikimedia
- Jeff Licht, Project Manager, Pod Consulting
- Maura Marx, DPLA Secretariat/Berkman Center for Internet & Society
- David Weinberger, Harvard Library Innovation Lab
- Kenny Whitebloom, DPLA Secretariat/Berkman Center for Internet & Society
We strongly encourage you to collaborate with this team over the coming months. You can pitch in through the following channels:
- Dev portal (used for Beta build)
- Dev wiki (used for Alpha build)
- Development status updates (updated weekly)
- Dev blog
- DPLA dev mailing list
- GitHub code repository
- Technical Workstream
Photo courtesy of Martin Kalfatovic.