Digital Initiatives Librarian and Assistant Professor in the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences Kevin Comerford is taking on a new role as a community representative for the Digital Library of America (DPLA). The DPLA works to bring together riches from American libraries, archives and museums and make them freely available to the world.

“Being a community representative for New Mexico will give me a chance to promote collections in the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections to a wider national audience,” Comerford said. 

The DPLA portal  serves as the point of access to over 7.1 million items — photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images and more — from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Users can browse and search DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, visual bookshelf, format, and topic; save items to customized lists; and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by DPLA’s content partners and staff.

DPLA service hubs are state or regional digital libraries, such as the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections at UNM, that aggregate information about digital objects from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions within its given state or region. Each service hub offers its state or regional partners a full menu of standardized digital services, including digitization, metadata assistance and training, data aggregation and storage services, as well as locally hosted community outreach programs, bringing users in contact with digital content of local relevance.

DPLA and its partners have curated a series of virtual exhibitions highlighting specific themes, such as activism in the United States, Prohibition, and a joint exhibition with Europeana, the pan-Europeana digital library that tells the story of European emigration to the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. These exhibitions include full photographs and detailed information about special topics.