Advancing Ebooks

As part of its core mission of maximizing access to our shared culture, DPLA is working to expand the discoverability, accessibility, and availability of ebooks for the general public. Thanks to the following grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, DPLA has been able to grow its role in the library ebook ecosystem. For more, visit Ebooks.

Current Grants

Maximizing Access to Ebooks: Piloting New Channels for Increased Availability (2017-2019)

With a generous grant from the Sloan Foundation, DPLA is exploring how to broaden access for users by helping libraries move to an open service architecture. What does maximizing access to ebooks look like? Facilitating discovery of free, open content; unlocking previously gated content through new licensing and/or access models; and facilitating better purchasing options for libraries.

Our vision is to:

  • Help libraries find and serve more open content, including open textbooks and other open educational resources (OER).
  • Merge content from multiple paid sources on a single platform and consolidated user interface.
  • Curate content to drive discovery and use of more of libraries existing collection.
  • Experiment with new types and sources of content including local publishing.
  • Empower DPLA to work directly with publishers to secure new and better terms for libraries that will allow them to provide more access at a better value.

To test our vision, DPLA is piloting the DPLA Exchange, which will run through spring 2018.

While we explore innovative methods to advance the library ebook ecosystem, we’re also making familiar content new again. DPLA’s Open Bookshelf is a substantial, free, and open collection of widely-read and widely-held ebooks, with a goal of improving discoverability through metadata and curation. Libraries will be able to access the best in the open content – including classic novels, open textbooks, regional favorites, and contemporary titles designed for all to enjoy – all available through an OPDS feed.

Providing Better Access to Modern Ebooks (2015-2018)

Thanks to the Sloan Foundation, DPLA has become an active member of the ebook community, helping organize the incipient ebook projects and associated people, and holding a series of quarterly meetings in addition to regular online conversations. These meetings push forward concepts and work, including licensing practice and transparency, the community of practice, and emerging technical infrastructure.

This grant has also supported DPLA’s role in the Open eBooks initiative. Through this work, K-12 children in need across the United States and its territories downloaded over one million popular and award-winning ebooks for free, without holds or late fees, during the initiative’s first year.

Previous Grants

Ebook Working Meeting, DPLAfest 2015

At DPLAfest 2015, DPLA held a two-day working meeting with a diverse and knowledgeable group of librarians (both public and academic), ebook consortia leaders, technologists, publishers, and noted thought leaders on what it would take to build a national strategy for ebook acquisition, management, discovery, and use. The workshop was organized as an open agenda meeting that kicked off with the challenge question: How do we build a national digital platform for ebook acquisition, management, discovery, and access? By all accounts, this meeting was a huge success with attendees identifying areas that could use further study, setting the course for the next few years for both DPLA and the larger ebook community. The meeting was sponsored by a Sloan Foundation Program Officer Grant.

Questions? Contact us ebooks@dp.la