Overwhelmed and Inspired by DPLA

Thanks to Samantha Gibson, I will now be forfeiting endless hours of my life to the DPLA.  Where to begin…The Digital Public Library of America is incomparable in its scope and in the possibilities it holds. I thought the Digital Commonwealth- everything from Massachusetts’ museums, historical societies, and archives was mesmerizing. Just search the town you live or work in if you are from MA- you’ve been warned.

But the DPLA is another beast entirely. How many of us have used the holdings of the Smithsonian or Library of Congress to spice up our teaching?  Now, students can practically do research on any topic in the world that they are interested in and find original sources about it. I finally have a place to send the students who ask me how to find legitimate primary sources relating to the history of such wide-ranging topics as carrier pigeons and scrap-booking  (I was literally asked about both of these things just last week). Google just wasn’t cutting it.

I don’t even know where to begin with DPLA, but perhaps it will be easiest to pour through the topic collections for educators that Samantha showed us. I’m teaching an Intro to US History II course in the fall and will absolutely have the students using DPLA. I may even have them create their own geo-tours with the software Brian Croxall created and annotate them with images from DPLA. There goes the month of July. Watch this space…


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