The College of Charleston and its partners in the South Carolina Digital Library are playing a key role in the April 18, 2013 launch of the nation’s first comprehensive digital public library. The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an ambitious project intended to make cultural and scientific heritage available, free of charge, to all. SCDL is one of six state and regional digital libraries selected to participate in the launch.

“The Lowcountry Digital Library is doing some of the best work in South Carolina, and South Carolina is doing some of the best work in the nation,” explains John White, director of the LCDL and interim dean of the College of Charleston Libraries. “We have been recognized for adding content faster than any other state in the nation, and what we’re adding is high-quality material thanks to our rich cultural history.”

A digital library is an online database of publications, documents, photos and more that have either been scanned or were digital to start with and put online for the public to access. The DPLA is the first effort to establish a national network of these digital libraries that would give users a single access point to get content they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

“For our students and the Charleston community, this means that they will have hundreds of thousands of historical documents at their fingertips,” White explains. “A digital library goes beyond what you’d find in Wikipedia – you can see the actual document, and in many cases, it is translated and full text is available. For the Library, this means that people from across the nation can now see some of our historical treasures.”

There are 40 state digital projects in the nation and South Carolina is one of six chosen by the DPLA to include in the launch. Others are: Mountain West Digital Library (Utah, Nev. and Ariz.), Digital Commonwealth (Mass.), Digital Library of Georgia, Kentucky Digital Library, and the Minnesota Digital Library.

Several content hubs are also participating in the launch, including: Harvard Library, National Archives and Records Administration, Smithsonian Institution, ARTstor, and the New York Public Library.

For more information, contact John White at